India: At least 31 killed, 40,000 rescued in floods in Tamil Nadu

The state recorded over 64 mm of rainfall this week, more than triple the 20 mm that would be normal at this time of year

By Reuters

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Flood-affected people receive relief material from the Indian Navy personnel at a flood-hit area of Tamil Nadu. Photo: PTI
Flood-affected people receive relief material from the Indian Navy personnel at a flood-hit area of Tamil Nadu. Photo: PTI

Published: Fri 22 Dec 2023, 5:14 PM

At least 31 people were killed in floods and heavy rain in India's southern state of Tamil Nadu this week, a top federal minister said on Friday, as rescuers struggled to reach scores still stranded in high waters.

Heavy rains have paralysed several districts of the state, inundating entire neighbourhoods, roads and railway tracks, days after a cyclone hit India's south-eastern coast, causing widespread damage.

"The (toll) number could change," federal Finance Minister Nirmala Sithraman told reporters, adding that more than 40,000 people have been rescued so far and efforts are underway to reach those still stranded.

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The state is one of the major electronics and manufacturing hubs in India. Some southern neighbourhoods remained waterlogged on Friday.

"We're struggling to get tractors and boats with food and essentials through water in the worst-affected areas," said M. Balamurugan, who along with other volunteers have been distributing foods and essentials.

Tamil Nadu recorded over 64 mm of rainfall this week, more than triple the 20 mm that would be normal at this time of year, the weather department said, predicting more rainfall in parts of the state over the next five days.

For some the floods are reminiscent of rains eight years ago in state capital Chennai that killed 290 people and inundated large swathes of the city.

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