03 December 2015
Yet again – heavy rains have caused severe flooding in South Asia. This time, the heaviest monsoon rains in over 100 years have struck eastern Tamil Nadu, in Southern India.
A depression in the Bay of Bengal coast near Tamil Nadu have caused incessant rains leaving thousands displaced and halting key transport links in the capital, Chennai. Areas as far north as Visakhapatnam in northeast Andhra Pradesh have also been hit, but the worst of the damage remains in areas such as Puducherry, Cuddalore and Chennai.
Already hundreds of people have lost their lives and we are witnessing a very similar situation to that of the floods that struck Bangladesh, West Bengal and Myanmar earlier in the year. Christian Aid’s regional resilience manager Yeeshu Shukla said after visiting some of the worst hit areas: 'this situation has impacted the pockets of the most marginalized and excluded communities.
'Places which are not traditionally prone to floods have been hit which means communities have limited capacity and coping mechanisms. Some areas are cut off due to roads being washed away.
'I could see extensive damage to the houses, most of which are made of mud and thatched roof. People have been forced to take refuge in school buildings or in the neighbour's/relative's houses. Along with houses, they have also lost their household belongings.'
The State Government have brought in the Army to support a rescue and relief operation to those stranded in hard to reach places, and our partners on the ground have started responding with essential relief kits, but the continued bad weather continues to hamper relief efforts and is set to worsen over the weekend.
Christian Aid partners Social Awareness Society for Youth (SASY) and Churches Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA) are responding in Chennai, Kanchipuram and Cuddalore, ensuring we target the most vulnerable communities with essential food items such as rice and dhal, as well as tarpaulins, bed sheets and hygiene kits.
We will continue to assess the need on the ground and keep you updated on our response.
If you would like to help us equip more communities in the event of future disasters, please donate to our emergencies fund.