New Delhi: The worst deluge in a century in Tamil Nadu paralysed Chennai, closing offices, automobile factories and the airport in the city. Television pictures showed families wading through sometimes neck-deep water, planes stranded at the shuttered airfield and office complexes flooded up to the first floor. Some factories curbed output a second straight day, including those of Ford Motor, BMW, Tata Consultancy Services and Cognizant Technology Solutions declared holidays for staff.
Many low-lying neighborhoods of the city and surrounding areas were submerged due to the incessant downpour, with power outages adding to the misery. The army and navy deployed personnel to help rescuers trying to evacuate the stranded.
TVS Motors, based in Chennai, fell as much 6.3 per cent, the most since September 1, after saying the rains in the past three weeks adversely affected production and sales. Drug maker Natco Pharma said it shut down a plant temporarily due to flooding.
Chennai is a hub for many manufacturers, including Hyundai Motor Co., Ashok Leyland and Renault SA. Daimler AG s truck unit closed its plant.
The IMDforecasts rain and thunderstorms in some parts of the city until Dec 7. Some 600 personnel will be arriving by the end of Wednesday with rescue boats, diving equipment and medical response gear, said S S Guleria, a deputy inspector general at India s National Disaster Response Force.
The city suffered a record 1,218.6 mm of precipitation in November, according to forecaster Skymet. The northeast monsoon that typically sets in between October and December over India s east coast, where Chennai is located, is usually accompanied by cyclones and depressions.
In the face of incessant rain and the consequent flooding of aeronautical areas, the government has closed the Chennai airport up to December 6 suspending all flights to the city.
No flight has operated from the airport since Tuesday 8 pm with the water level rising two feet above the taxiways. The aviation authorities initially shut the airport till Thursday morning, but have now decided to keep it closed for more days due to worsening flood situation.
By 6 am on Wednesday, the airport's entire operational area had submerged in about 7 feet of water. "Chennai aerodrome has been closed up to 12 noon of December 6," a civil aviation ministry statement said.
As per official figures, nearly 1,500 passengers are stranded at the Chennai airport and are being evacuated. A SpiceJet spokesperson said ``we are closely monitoring the situation in Chennai. All our operations at Chennai Airport has been suspended till further instructions as the airport is waterlogged and tarmac is submerged in one-and-a-half feet of water."
An Airports Authority of India (AAI) official said that the closure period had been extended after the airport operator assessed the ground situation and damage caused so far by the floods.
Meanwhile, general insurers are gearing up to settle claims, which are pegged at over Rs 600 crore so far. The industry said these ongoing floods alone may add an additional burden of Rs 100 crore to them.
"Even as we don't expect much damage in the form of insured loss from the recent floods, which may be around Rs 100 crore for the industry, we feel that the total insured loss may top Rs 600 crore," ICICI Lombard General Insurance chief for underwriting, claims and reinsurance, said Sanjay Datta.
Download the all new Deccan Chronicle app for Android and iOS to stay up-to-date with latest headlines and news stories in politics, entertainment, sports, technology, business and much more from India and around the world....