Chennai floods: Heavy rain brings Indian city to a standstill

·3-min read

Heavy rainfall lashed parts of southern India and Sri Lanka over the weekend, bringing life to a standstill and leading to flooding.

Four people died in “rain-related incidents” across the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, local disaster management minister KKSSR Ramachandran said on Sunday.

Local media footage from Chennai, the largest city in Tamil Nadu, showed heavy waterlogging, leading to the closure of several roads and subways. Heavy traffic jams, due to flooding, have brought the city to a standstill since Sunday. Several trees were also uprooted. Vehicles were submerged under water and people had to wade through ankle-deep water.

Though no deaths were reported in Chennai, the downpour was the highest in a 24-hour period since 2015, when the city had experienced its worst flooding in a century. Nearly 500 people died in Tamil Nadu in rain-related incidents that year, and properties worth billions of dollars were destroyed.

On Sunday, many people were rescued with the help of boats as water entered homes in several low-lying areas. Thirteen teams of the National Disaster Response Force and the army are helping in the rescue work. Authorities have deployed giant pumps to take out water from subways and waterlogged areas.

Over 150 relief camps were set up to distribute food and aid to the affected, the Tamil Nadu government said. A two-day state holiday was announced by the government on Monday and Tuesday. Schools, colleges and all essential services will be shut

Heavy rain and thunderstorms are expected to continue for the next four days in different parts of southern India, including Chennai, the federal weather agency said in a statement on Sunday.

While heavy rain is common for the area during this season, experts say climate change has exacerbated the situation. Several residents took to social media to express the horror they faced and many compared it to the deadly floods of 2015 when the city was declared a disaster zone.

Meanwhile, in Sri Lanka, at least nine people have died due to flooding cause by incessant rains for more than a week. The island’s Central Highlands have been affected the worst and nearly half of Sri Lanka’s 25 districts were hit by the downpour.

“Five deaths and two disappearances were reported” since the rains began at the end of October, Pradeep Kodippili of the island’s disaster management agency said on Monday, according to AFP. More floods are expected over the next few days, and the rainfall is expected to move to the city of Jaffna in the north.

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