• Sunday, March 03, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Five dead in Chennai as India braces for Cyclone Michaung

The deaths were caused by rain-related incidents as the southern Indian city was battered by heavy rain ahead of the cyclone’s expected landfall on December 5.

A commuter on a waterlogged road during heavy rain owing to Cyclone Michaung, in Chennai in the southern state of Tamil Nadu on, Monday, December 4, 2023. A relief official in orange outfit is also seen. (PTI Photo/R Senthil Kumar)

By: Shubham Ghosh

AT LEAST five persons were killed in a number of rail-related incidents in the southern Indian city of Chennai on Monday (4) as the coastal states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh braced for Cyclone Michaung which was expected to make a landfall on Tuesday (5).

Several parts of the city and adjoining districts were inundated by floods caused by rain and flight operations — both domestic and international — remained suspended as the airport in Chennai’s Meenambakkam was flooded. Many flights were diverted to Bengaluru in the neighbouring state of Karnataka. Flight operations at the airport remained suspended till 9 am local time on Thursday (7). In one flooded area, a crocodile was spotted on the road.

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said Michaung, the fourth to develop over the Bay of Bengal this year, intensified into a severe cyclonic storm.

Read: Parked cars swept away like toys by Chennai floods ahead of Cyclone Michaung landfall

“Severe cyclonic storm Michaung over westcentral and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal lay centered at 11:30 am about 90 km north east of Chennai and 140 km southeast of Nellore. Likely to intensify gradually, move nearly northwards and cross south Andhra Pradesh coast between Nellore and Machilipatnam close to Bapatla of December 5 as severe cyclonic storm,” IMD said on X.

While Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin reviewed the situation, the police in Chennai said they received reports of five deaths due to heavy downpour. Two of them were elderly persons whose bodies were discovered in different parts of the city. Two others were electrocuted while one was killed after a tree fell on him. One person was injured after a newly constructed wall collapsed on him.

The Tamil Nadu government announced a public holiday on Monday and Tuesday in Chennai and affected districts such as Tiruvallur, Chengalpattu and Kanchipuram. Schools, colleges and government offices remained shut and private companies were urged to ask their employees to work from home keeping in mind the weather and flood conditions. Essential services such as healthcare and milk supply would remain operational.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has deployed 21 teams in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and the adjoining Union Territory of Puducherry while eight additional teams were kept in reserve in view of Michaung.

The administration of the eastern state of Odisha adjoining the Bay of Bengal was also on alert as heavy to very heavy rainfall was expected in a number of coastal districts of the state. The effect of the cyclone may also be felt in the southern districts of the state of West Bengal, bordering Odisha, and its capital Kolkata.

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