India's 4th Largest City Is Pretty Much Underwater

'Total chaos'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 3, 2015 2:40 PM CST
A boy carries a child and wades through a flooded street in Chennai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu on Wednesday.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – India's fourth largest city—along with its approximately 9 million residents—is pretty much completely underwater after a record amount of rainfall in the past month, Bloomberg reports. According to the Wall Street Journal, the runway at Chennai's international airport was under 7 feet of water Thursday, leaving 30 planes and hundreds of passengers stranded. Multiple businesses—including Ford and Hyundai factories—and the city's main railway station have shut down. Meanwhile, Bloomberg adds that water is neck-deep in many neighborhoods, telephone networks are down, roads have been washed away, and many are without power. More than 250 people in Chennai and the surrounding state of Tamil Nadu have been killed in flooding since the start of November, and more than 2,000 people have been evacuated, according to the Journal.

Chennai received nearly 48 inches of rain in November, more than three times the normal amount for November, Bloomberg reports. And with most of the city barely above sea level to start with, even minor flooding can be a big problem, according to the Journal. Prime Minister Narendra Modi blamed the fatal flooding on climate change, while others looked toward heavy construction along the city's rivers. The Indian government has allocated $141 million for flood relief. But Bloomberg reports losses to businesses could reach $2.2 billion, with the tourism, automobile, and information technology industries being especially hit hard. One Indian business association calls the situation "total chaos." Rains were expected to continue at least through Friday, the Journal reports. (Read more India stories.)

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