Boats had to be used to rescue people and a great number of the people rich and poor had to survive without food on roof tops and upper floor as the water level rose by the minute. Since the rivers were flooding and the dams were getting filled, the government ordered opening of the dams to let the excess water to flow through canals to reach the sea.
Unfortunately they had to open excess water to the tune of about 35000 cu feet. Water gushed and flooded the North Chennai also as the dams in the South and the North were opened simultaneously. People were caught unawares of the magnitude of loss and hardship, fled their house leaving behind everything to safety.
They first did not have a place to spend the night later schools were opened as temporary shelter. Karunalaya also opened the Shelter premises for 100 people to stay. Families from far North came to stay in Karunalaya. Health of the children, women and old people were cared for by Karunalaya.
The whole of Chennai was without electricity and telephone connectivity. So people came to know about the disaster after 3 to 4 days. The government later came to know that the situation was worse and called the Army and National disaster Relief Force for rescue operations.
People had to suffer from the floods and the disaster depended on relief. Karunalaya started emergency relief work providing shelter, food and tried to assess the damage and the situation. While the south Chennai was much in focus by the media, north Chennai was not covered and therefore the worst situation was not reported. Even the national media turned their attention only when the Chennai Airport was closed for over 6 days.