1000s flee homes over heavy flooding in India
Hundreds of thousands of people in southern India have been forced to evacuate their homes after weeks of heavy flooding which has left nearly 200 people dead.
Government officials said on Wednesday that more than 200,000 people have fled their homes as a result of the flooding in India’s state of Tamil Nadu.
Officials in the state capital, Chennai, said a total of 186 people have lost their lives after four weeks of rain.
According to Indian emergency officials, the international airport in Chennai was closed after its runways swelled with water earlier in the day, leaving thousands of passengers stranded. It is expected to remain closed until Thursday.
State television reported that most of the state’s main roads and highways, including the East Coast Road, were closed and that power supplies have been also cut.
India deploys troops to flooded area
India deployed thousands of troops and rescuers with inflatable boats, as well as diving and medical equipment, to the southern state, after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered rescue teams and paramilitary forces to launch an extensive relief and rescue operation.
“At least 10,000 police personnel and trained swimmers are being deployed to help with the rescue effort,” said Chennai police chief, JK Tripathy.
S.P Selvan, deputy inspector general of the National Disaster Response Force, has also warned of a “grim” situation in the region, where “some urban areas are totally flooded.”
India’s monsoon season
The annual winter monsoon rains this year in southern India have been the heaviest the region has experienced in decades.
Last September, hundreds of people died in flooding in the northern city of Srinagar.
Heavy rainfall and flooding during India’s rainy monsoon season claim many lives and causes property damage every year.