Vardah effect: Stripped of trees and people, parks in Chennai look forlorn

Swathi Moorthy Chennai | Updated on January 16, 2018 Published on December 16, 2016

A fallen tree in Annanagar Tower Park is among the many thousands of trees brought down by Cyclone Vardah in Chennai. - Kirubanidhi

Cyclone Vardah has uprooted over 5,000 trees in the city, leaving most parks in the city devastated. Some of them have been partially restored and there is some semblance of activity.

According to the Chennai Corporation website, the city has 456 public parks.

Till last weekend, these parks were lively with joggers, elderly on a morning walk, marathon runners who come to warm up, kids on roller skating rinks and yoga practitioners. Small eateries near parks see men and women munching on hot vadas and bhajjis after their jog in the park. Women selling fresh vegetables and greens did brisk business.

Women who sell vegetables at Natesan Park in T Nagar say that with the park closed, they have to find another spot till it reopens. Small eateries are not seeing much crowd either. Mariappan, a helper in one of these eateries, said the shop was crowded in early mornings and evenings before the cyclone. “The cyclone has destroyed the park. Though customers from nearby offices are dropping in, the usual crowd is missing,” he said. People like Venkat Raghav and Manickam who spend their evenings at the park are having a difficult time finding an alternative with most tree covers destroyed. Many green and cultural centres such as the Theosophical Society in Adyar and SPACES in Besant Nagar, have been crippled by the cyclone. SPACES hosts cultural programmes such as dance and theatre. Within the lush green campus, kalari, dance and music classes are conducted where over 100 people participate.

The cyclone uprooted many big trees on the campus and damaged the kalari arena and courtyard theatre.

With few volunteers coming forward, the organisation is having a hard time clearing the compound to resume operations.

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Published on December 16, 2016
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