Four people were killed in Tamil Nadu on Monday, 12th December, 2016, as a tropical storm slammed into India’s southeastern coast with monstrous ferocity, uprooting trees and power cables, toppling vehicles and damaging houses besides dumping heavy rain across two states.

Cyclone Vardah made landfall close to the Chennai coast at about 3 pm and barrelled inland, packing windspeed up to 140 kmph but is expected to lose intensity as it moves further inshore.

This was the very day the St Leo’s College UQ Brisbane were to arrive from Jaipur. Their trip was delayed by 24 hours. When they did arrive they witnessed the devastation throughout Chennai on the drive from the Airport to Mithra.

Mithra and the surrounding neighbourhood of Annanagar was battered by the ferocious winds, and many trees were destroyed, but the residential children and the Sisters were safe. They lost power for two days and the internet and phones were down for a week.

Immediately upon their arrival the Leo’s lads got to work to cut down dangerous branches and trees, and they cleared away the debris. They did this work on three consecutive afternoons.

More than 9,000 people were evacuated to safety in the coastal regions of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh while educational institutions were shut as the “very severe” cyclonic storm whipped up waves as high as 20 ft.

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