CHENNAI, India India deployed hundreds of added soldiers and relief workers to the flooded city of Chennai on Saturday, as criticism mounted that the government has been slow to respond to the heaviest rains in a century.
The runway at Chennai airport was partly opened after being shut for the previous four days, officials said, aiding the relief work in a disaster that has claimed 280 lives across the state, according to the official death toll.
Massive components of India’s fourth biggest city have been inundated by up to eight feet (two.five metres) of water following torrential rains on Dec. 1, leaving many residents trapped on rooftops or upper floors with no energy or communications.
Chennai has boomed as a centre for automobile factories and IT outsourcing, but trash-filled drains and building on lake beds in the rush to industrialisation and prosperity has produced it far more prone to flooding.
Although the rains have paused, a lot more than half of Chennai’s 859 city regions stay beneath water, officials, stated raising the threat of disease and squalor in the flat, coastal city of six million.
“We are asking for much more help from the army, the national disaster relief team,” stated Atulya Mishra relief commissioner of Tamil Nadu. “It has been a monsoon unlike something we have noticed in history, we require all the support we can get.”
Ten columns of the army, about 1,000 soldiers in all, were becoming flown into the city to add to the nine columns currently engaged in relief and rescue perform, Mishra stated.
The National Disaster Response Force, a specialist central unit set up to manage emergencies, would send 20 far more teams in addition to the 28 currently on the ground, generating it the force’s largest deployment to a flood disaster.
The runway at Chennai airport had been cleared of water and planes that had been stranded for the past 5 days have been becoming flown out for technical checks at nearby centres such as Bengaluru, officials said.
Passenger flights had not yet began as the airport terminal was waterlogged, and it could be two a lot more days before it was fully operational.
Some communications had been restored following the floods.
Indian test cricketer Ravichandran Ashwin reached his parents in Chennai soon after he was unable to make contact with them for a day when phone networks went down, neighborhood media quoted him as saying in Delhi, where he was playing in a match against South Africa.
On the Old Mahabalipuram Road, home to many IT firms, men and women have been nonetheless trapped by higher floodwaters.
M. Vijaykumar, a deputy director at the Tamil Nadu fire service, said residents in the region were refusing to leave even though the water level had dropped slightly.
“Some have old parents, they never want to take possibility,” she mentioned, with a lot of also scared to wade through floodwaters.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi who visited the city this week announced 10 million Indian rupees ($ 150,000) of added assistance for relief operations.
($ 1 = 66.6330 Indian rupees)
(Additional reporting by Suvashree Choudhury in MUMBAI Editing by Richard Pullin)