Heavy rains kill 14 people in southern India

Several districts in Tamil Nadu are bracing for more downpours

At least 14 people have been killed in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu during days of heavy rain, officials said on Thursday.

Several districts in the state are on high alert, bracing for more torrents as a depression over the south-west Bay of Bengal was set to cross northern Tamil Nadu on Thursday evening. The Indian Meteorological Department gave a warning of intense rain in isolated places.

The heavy rains struck at the weekend hitting the capital Chennai. Photos and videos from the city showed residents wading through knee-deep water and vehicles nearly submerged on flooded roads.

Two people were killed in the past 24 hours, said N Subbaiyan, the director of the state’s disaster management.

At least 800 huts have been destroyed this past week, Kumar Jayant of the state’s revenue department said.

Multiple teams of the National Disaster Response Force have been sent to help local authorities with rescue efforts.

In Chennai, which is among the worst hit, hundreds of people have been led to safety from vulnerable areas. Authorities have also set up more than 100 relief centres and distributed free food, local media reported.

Flights into Chennai have been suspended.

The rains this week are among the heaviest to have hit the city since 2015.

Experts say more heavy rain could trigger further flooding and devastation.

“The public should not go out,” Greater Chennai Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi told New Delhi Television on Wednesday. He said authorities had managed to drain most of the floodwater but warned residents that low-lying areas could once again be inundated.

Heavy rain at this time of year in Tamil Nadu is not unusual but experts say climate change has exacerbated the problem, making downpours more intense and frequent.

Last month, flooding and landslides caused by heavy rains killed at least 28 people in neighbouring Kerala state.

Updated: November 11th 2021, 5:32 PM
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