Relief, rescue efforts intensify in Chennai floods


Intense flood relief and rescue operations were under way in southern India Thursday after the death toll in the region’s heaviest seasonal rains in 100 years reached 269.

In Chennai, state capital of Tamil Nadu, floods worsened as more waters were released into the Adyar river from a overflowing reservoir.

At least 2,000 disaster relief and military personnel were deployed, federal Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, adding that ongoing poor weather was making relief work difficult.

The city is India’s fourth largest metropolis and home to automobile factories and other industries.

Hundreds were stranded at home, food was running short and ATM machines were not working, NDTV news channel reported.

The Metereological Department predicted more heavy rainfall in the region until Saturday.

The coastal city and its hinterland have received two spells of very heavy rain in the October-December wet season, largely due to low-pressure formations over the nearby Bay of Bengal.

Over 40 per cent of telephone connections were down and the electricity had to be disconnected in several waterlogged areas for the safety of residents, Singh said.

Chennai’s international airport, which is in a lowlying area, remained waterlogged and would be closed till Sunday, a control room official said.

Arrangements were being made to transport 750 stranded passengers to Hyderabad airport to catch onward flights, National Disaster Response Force chief OP Singh said.