Up to 300 people have died in floods that began to sweep across southern India on the 2nd of December, one of the worst hit places was the state of Tamil Nadu, where thousands of people were left homeless.
More than 7,000 people have been evacuated by emergency services from Chennai, formerly known as Madras, whilst essential supplies are being dropped to those who cannot be rescued yet. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a £100m aid relief package for the region whilst military forces, police forces and disaster teams set about rescuing people who were isolated in flooded areas.
Chennai, which is the capital of Tamil Nadu, received 330 millimeters of rain in just 24 hours and saw 12186mm of rain in the month of November, which is three times more than usual. Thousands of people were left stranded on rooftops whilst being forced from their homes, and some were left awaiting flights at closed airports.
The bad weather was caused by a depression in the Bay of Bengal and the strong El Nino effect, which has hit coastal areas. The months of October, November and December always bring a lot of rain in southern India, but meteorologists say that the extreme rain is related to a low-pressure area in the Bay.
The price of vegetables milk and drinking water has soared in the flood-hit zones, and for some people electricity and mobile communications were lost for days. Business, factories, schools and colleges were closed whilst trains coming in and going out of the struck areas were cancelled. The Chennai International Airport was closed for several days and re-opened on Sunday.
As the floodwaters appear to slowly recede a massive relief effort has begun. The National Crisis Management Committee recently said that around 90% of the city now has power and that buses are operating again, but there has been greater difficulty in getting telephone services fully functional.