Of Chennai Rains And How Volunteers Employed Indigenous & Innovative Solutions [#Jugaad]

Amongst reports of ‘weak’ relief operations from the state, citizens from Tamil Nadu and neighboring states flocked to Chennai as ‘volunteers’ to clean up the mess.

With the situation escalating and losses mounting, volunteers came up with ‘indigenous and innovative’ solutions to house and serve refugees, and to transport supplies and essentials to the affected areas.

Let’s take a look at these make-shift solutions that is helping Chennai recover faster:

Bamboo houses

Salem Citizens forum posted these pictures of ‘bamboo houses’ designed as temporary shelter for low-income people. It costs only Rs.4800 (~70 USD) to put this together. This is what the post stated: “This 96 sq feet bamboo structure could easily house a family of four till they reconstruct their homes and lives. A lot of improvisation would be done to the same and it would also be fitted with solar lights ..All this for only 4800/-”


Raft Boats

Salem Citizens Forum’s next design is their raft boats. They made around 25 of these boats using bamboo/ inflatable tyres to make the boats float on water. These were sent to affected ares in Chennai and Cuddalore.


Raft boats in action during the floods in Chennai

Herbal Tonic With Medicinal Properties

Nilavembu Kashayam‘ is a Siddha (Tamil) medicine used for preventing fever which also has qualities of a disinfectant. It’s mainly made using neem leaves and other herbal leaves. People all over Chennai prepared the tonic themselves to distribute among people stuck in the floods. The tonic is said to prevent contagious diseases and infections.


Drum transport

This was the preferred method of several volunteers for transporting relief materials all over Chennai. Volunteers ventured across interior places in Chennai where water levels were still high, so they used drums for easy transport in water.


Phone chargers

A lot of places in Chennai lost electricity, and hence were stranded with cellphones without battery-power. Few workarounds were posted on how they could charge their phones using batteries.


Another workaround for charging the phones


Drum transport V.2


A lot of people in Chennai used drums with inflated tires to help transport children and senior citizens.

Mobile ATMs


Some banks sent-out mobile ATMs to help people withdraw cash from their bank accounts.

Crayon lights


These flammable crayons served as an alternate for flashlights during the night.


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  1. Its nice to see peoples helping each other. this makes India United. No matter which religion you belongs. Above innovations are really awesome in the panic situation.

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