The death toll from the floods in Tamil Nadu has risen to 269, according to a statement made by Home Minister Rajnath Singh in the Indian Parliament today.
Rescue and relief operations involving military teams continue in Chennai and the districts of Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur. The Indian Army say they have rescued over 4,000 of those stranded by the floods in Chennai in the last 24 hours or more. Chennai city authorities say there are almost 11,000 people currently staying in 200 relief centres set up for those displaced by the floods.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a warning for very heavy rains for today and tomorrow at isolated places in coastal and interior Tamil Nadu. Heavy rains are also predicted in the region for the subsequent three days.
Meanwhile the Indian Prime Minister has visited the flood-hit areas and promised further financial assistance for Tamil Nadu.
Chennai Airport remains closed and is likely to be out of operation until Sunday 06 December 2015. The airport closed yesterday after operational areas were left under 2 metres of flood water.
Hundreds of trains have been cancelled and thousands of passengers left stranded at stations in and around Chennai. In a statement made earlier today, Indian Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said he has directed Southern Railway to make appropriate arrangements for water, food, security and adequate refund facilities to the stranded passengers.
According to the statement, around 20,000 food packets have been distributed to stranded passengers, with a further 10,000 more earmarked for distribution today. A skeleton service has resumed for some of Chennai’s suburbs.
During a short duration discussion on flood situation in different parts of the country, the Indian Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh made a Statement in Lok Sabha today.
The Minister said that, since the start of the Northeast monsoon in October this year, 269 people had lost their lives in flood-related incidents in Tamil Nadu. This figure is considerably higher than the figure of 169 quoted by the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, J. Jayalalithaa, last week. It is not clear if the steep rise in the number of victims is a result of the most recent bout of floods from 30 November 2015.
In a message of condolence, the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, said “I am very sad to learn about the loss of human lives and serious damage to infrastructure in Chennai and several others parts of Tamil Nadu due to heavy rains.”
He added “I call upon the State Government and all other authorities to provide every assistance possible to the bereaved families as well as those affected”.
The Indian Army reports that its 40 rescue teams working in flood-hit areas have successfully rescued over 4000 stranded people in and around Chennai. The Military Hospital at St Thomas Mount has been made functional and treatment is being given to many flood affected patients.
The army say their teams are working in the following areas: Tambaram, Mudichur, Kothurpuram, Pallavaram, Thiruneermalai, Urapakkam, Manipakkam, T Nagar and Gudvancheri towards the outskirts of Chennai and also along areas adjacent to the Adyar River.
The Indian Air Force report that their rescue and relief operations are also in full swing, using 10 helicopters in Tamil Nadu and one helicopter in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh. Teams from the Indian Navy, Coast Guard and NDRF are also carrying out rescue and relief operations.
Prime Minister’s Visit and Further Financial Assistance
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi visited Chennai today to take stock of the flood situation. He undertook an aerial survey of the flood affected areas of Chennai, Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur districts in Tamil Nadu and had meetings with Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Ms. Jayalalithaa.
Later the Prime Minister said, “I have seen the damage and misery caused by the extremely heavy rainfall. The Government of India stands by the people of Tamil Nadu in their hour of need. I have directed that Rs. 1000 crores be released immediately by Government of India to Tamil Nadu for immediate relief. This is over and above Rs. 940 crores which was released earlier.”
Photos of the Chennai Floods
Photos credit: Press Information Bureau, India