Chennai flooded as heavy rains from cyclone Michaung batter south India

AFP

Rescuers used boats to reach people stranded in their homes amid widespread flooding in the India's Chennai on Wednesday after cyclone Michaung barrelled into the 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 afternoon.

Rescuers used inflatable rafts and ropes to pluck people out of their homes in Chennai, a city of more than 6 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 Dr. J. Radhakrishnan. "We hope to clear it soon."

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 50.6 billion rupees ($607.01 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.

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