Chennai comes to a standstill as heavy rains flood city

@mkstalin/ Twitter

The Indian city of Chennai came to a standstill on Sunday with many areas flooded after the southern Indian coast was battered by heavy rainfall overnight, prompting authorities to issue warnings and evacuate people from low-lying areas.

Local media showed footage of cars submerged under water, uprooted trees and people being rescued on rubber boats in various parts of Chennai, the largest city in the southern state of Tamil Nadu and often called 'India's Detroit' due to its large car-making industry.

Greater Chennai Corporation, the civic body, said on Twitter it had opened up relief centres and medical camps across the city and was distributing food to flood victims.

Heavy rains were expected to continue for the next four days in different parts of Tamil Nadu, the southern Andhra Pradesh state and the union territory of Puducherry, India's meteorological department said in a statement on Sunday, asking fishermen not to venture into sea.

The rains will continue as low pressure is created by a cyclonic circulation in the Bay of Bengal, it said.

Chennai, along with 11 other districts, were affected by more than 20 cm of rainfall, Tamil Nadu's chief minister MK Stalin told reporters, according to Reuters partner ANI, adding that he had asked all his ministers to help in recovery efforts.

"I have instructed officials and sent the national disaster management team to the respective areas," Stalin said.

The meteorological department also issued a moderate to high threat of flash floods in certain parts of southern India while the Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority said it was inspecting certain low-lying areas.

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