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STAYING AFLOAT

A major Indian city has been underwater for almost a month now

India-Chennai-Floods
AP Photo/Arun Sankar K
Drowning.
  • Itika Sharma Punit
By Itika Sharma Punit

Co-editor, Quartz India

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

It has not stopped raining in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu for almost a month, throwing normal life out of gear.

The state’s capital, Chennai—home to offices of large IT companies like Tata Consultancy Services, Cognizant and Infosys—is among the most affected areas. The city is witnessing its worst rains in 100 years. In recent weeks, cars have sunk, roads caved, and flights delayed.

Across the state, rain-related incidents have caused 188 deaths since October, IBNLive has reported.

Water damage threatens to disrupt local businesses, too. Nearly 400,000 people work in the IT sector in Chennai, and over half of them operate from an IT corridor that spreads across the Old Mahabalipuram Road, which saw waterlogging due to heavy rains, The Hindu Business Line newspaper has reported.

Holidays have been declared for schools and colleges in Chennai.

The situation isn’t looking up in the immediate future. The India Meteorological Department has now forecasted ”heavy to very heavy” rains in the city over the next four days. Officials at the Regional Meteorological Centre have warned the Press Trust of India that low pressure over nearby southwest Bay could also cause “isolated extremely heavy rainfall” for Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur.

On Dec. 1, the army was deployed in two areas of Chennai to start rescue operations. Two columns of the Garrison Infantry Battalion are at work at Tambaram and Oorapakkam areas of Chennai, following Tamil Nadu government’s request for military assistance. The navy is also on stand-by, according to The Times of India.

In a tweet, prime minister Narendra Modi “assured all possible support and cooperation” for the soaked state.

Ola, a local ride-sharing service and Uber rival, has started a free boat service to ferry people from waterlogged areas of Chennai, as Quartz had earlier reported. Another Indian technology startup, Stayzilla—an online aggregator of budget and home stays—has launched a campaign to facilitate listings of those who wish to open their homes to people displaced by the rain.

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