• Friday, March 01, 2024

ASIA

Chennai flooded as Michaung batters south India

An estimated 13 people die; rescuers use boats to reach those stranded in their homes

Volunteers steer a boat as they evacuate residents from a flooded area in Chennai on December 5, 2023 (Photo by R SATISH BABU/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

RESCUERS used boats to reach people stranded in their homes amid widespread flooding in Chennai on Wednesday (6) after cyclone Michaung barrelled into India’s southern coast, bringing in heavy rain and winds that uprooted trees and damaged roads.

An estimated 13 people, most of them in the manufacturing hub of Tamil Nadu, have died in the flooding that was triggered by the torrential rains that preceded the cyclone, which made landfall in Andhra Pradesh state on Tuesday (5) afternoon.

Rescuers used inflatable rafts and ropes to pluck people out of their homes in Chennai, a city of more than six million people and a major automobile and technology manufacturing hub.

Local media showed images of rescue workers wading through waist-deep water and of submerged vehicles. Air force helicopters also dropped food rations to people stranded in flooded homes.

“There are pockets of low lying areas,” said Greater Chennai Corporation Commissioner J Radhakrishnan. “We to hope clear it soon.”

Taiwan’s Foxconn and Pegatron had halted Apple iPhone production at their facilities near Chennai due to the rains on Monday (4), sources said. Foxconn resumed operations on Tuesday.

In Andhra Pradesh, which bore the brunt of the cyclone, the damage was relatively contained, with roads damaged and trees uprooted as big waves crashed into the coast.

This week’s floods in Chennai brought back memories of the extensive damage caused by floods eight years ago which killed around 290 people.

Some residents questioned the ability of the city’s infrastructure to handle extreme weather. State chief minister M K Stalin wrote to prime minister Narendra Modi seeking Rs 50.6 billion (£480 million) for the damage.

Raj Bhagat P, a civil engineer and geo-analytics expert, said better stormwater drainage systems in the city would not have been able to prevent the flooding.

“This solution would have helped a lot in moderate and heavy rainfall, but not in very heavy and extremely heavy rains,” he said.

(Reuters)

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