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Indian southern city faces worst rains in 100 years

Xinhua, December 3, 2015 Adjust font size:

The southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu's capital Chennai is reeling under fresh heavy rains, with large parts of the city completely inundated, flights and trains suspended and hundreds of people left without power.

A senior Indian weather official said Wednesday that heavy showers are likely to continue in Chennai for another week even as death toll in rain-related incidents across the state has touched nearly 200 since last month.

"Chennai is almost flooded after heavy overnight rains. The water level has been rising in various parts of the city. The Saidapet bridge over the Adyar river, which runs through the city, has also been closed," he said, on condition of anonymity.

He added "Heavy rains will continue in Chennai for at least another week. The situation may worsen in the next 24 hours. It is the worst rain in Tamil Nadu in nearly 100 years".

Local TV channels reported that hundreds of people are stuck at the airport as all flights have been cancelled and the train services suspended as rail trucks have been inundated, and showed footage of the Indian Army being pressed into action to rescue people stranded.

The rains have taken toll on the media as well. One of India's oldest newspapers The Hindu published from Chennai did not come out this morning for the first time in 137 years as workers could not access the office.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting in the morning with his senior ministers and discussed the flood situation in Chennai. He has also assured Tamil Nadu's J. Jayalalithaa of all possible help.

Meanwhile, Indian Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has refused to link the rain-ravaged situation in Tamil Nadu directly to climate change, saying it was natural calamity.

"What has happened in Chennai over last 10 days is absolutely a very serious situation. This can't be directly attributed to climate change. It is a natural calamity but this calamity needs to be tackled effectively," he told the media in the national capital.