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269 killed as Chennai braces for more rains, Prime Minister flies in to take stock

269 killed as Chennai braces for more rains, Prime Minister flies in to take stock
Highlights

The heaviest rainfall in more than 100 years has devastated swathes of Tamil Nadu, killing 269 with thousands forced to leave their submerged homes and schools and offices shut.

The heaviest rainfall in more than 100 years has devastated swathes of Tamil Nadu, killing 269 with thousands forced to leave their submerged homes and schools and offices shut.


While the downpour eased early Thursday, the Indian Meteorological Department has predicted more heavy rain in several parts of the state through the rest of the week.

Separately, news reports say flood waters released from a lake on the outskirts of state capital Chennai have inundated more neighbourhoods.

An aerial view of Chennai shows low lying neighbourhoods as well the city's airport almost completely submerged. The Airport Authority of India says the airport is likely to be closed until Sunday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday flew to Chennai to take stock of the situation.

"Leaving for Chennai to take stock of the situation arising due to the devastating floods," Modi tweeted before starting for Tamil Nadu.


The Centre has described the situation in Chennai as "worrisome". Home Minister Rajnath Singh told Lok Sabha that 40 per cent of telephone and mobile connections were not working in the state.

For the first time in over 40 years, water has risen rapidly on the Adyar river breaching the road and the Maraimalai Adigal bridge in Saidapet. Water has cut off the arterial Anna Salai Road, rendering it out of bounds for motorists.

The Centre said it was making "all possible efforts" to provide succour and relief to the people of rain battered Chennai and other areas in Tamil Nadu.

Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu said the central government was in touch with the state government and the Union Home Secretary was continuously monitoring the situation in affected areas.

"I have spoken to the Prime Minister and the Home Minister. Centre is providing all assistance and will continue to help. Naval and Army forces have been mobilised and we have arranged helicopters but we can fly them in only after the situation improves. We are trying to reach wherever possible," he told reporters outside Parliament.

The Union Urban Development Minister said the Chennai airport was shut and public transport heavily affected.

"People have left their homes, power supply has been halted as a precautionary measure and schools closed... it is not a good situation.

"The government is making all possible effort to provide help to the poor and the middle class... I appreciate that the residents of Chennai are helping each other," he said.

Rains abated in Chennai on Thursday but excessive discharge of water last night from the Chembarambakkam lake on the outskirts flooded new areas of the city, threatening to uproot more people from their homes.

The fresh flooding of the streets in the heart of the city in areas like Kodambakkam and T. Nagar and Ashok Nagar has been caused by the release of an estimated 30,000 cusecs of water from the Chembarambakkam lake, one of the city's sources of drinking water.
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