HUFFINGTON POST

Heaviest Rainfall In Southern India In More Than A Century Causes Major Flooding

In some areas, the water is neck-deep.

Massive flooding following record levels of rainfall in Tamil Nadu, a state in Southern India, is forcing thousands of people in the state capital of Chennai out of their homes.

In Chennai, which has a population of about 4.5 million people, factories have been closed, power has been turned off and the airport has been shut down as inhabitants scramble for cover. In some parts of the state, people have been forced to walk through neck-deep water.

"The police want to help but there are no boats. We are trying not to panic," Ramana Goda, one of the many people who took shelter in a local police station, told Reuters

“There will be no respite,” Laxman Singh Rathore, director general of the India Meteorological Department, told reporters Wednesday.

The rains, which have been the heaviest in over a century, began Nov. 12 and have already led to 150 deaths, The Guardian reports. In the past 24 hours, over 200 people have been injured by floods in Chennai, the outlet says.

Rescue teams have been deployed to some of the hardest hit regions of the state, and resources such as food and medicine are being airdropped. In the past day, over 20,000 Indians have been rescued by government forces, says Indian news outlet NDTV.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has cited climate change as the cause of the flooding in Southern India, adding urgency to the current climate talks in Paris, reports Reuters. He has noted that tropical countries, such as India, are especially prone to extreme weather.

See photos of the flooding below:

  • Rescuers lift a child onto a truck as they evacuate people from a residential area that was flooded following heavy rains in
    Arun Sankar K/Associated Press
    Rescuers lift a child onto a truck as they evacuate people from a residential area that was flooded following heavy rains in Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India, on Nov. 16, 2015. Incessant rains that lashed the city since Saturday night flooded several parts of Chennai.
  • Indian rescue workers on a boat move people to safety amid water-logged houses in a flooded suburb of Chennai on Nov. 17, 201
    STR/AFP/Getty Images
    Indian rescue workers on a boat move people to safety amid water-logged houses in a flooded suburb of Chennai on Nov. 17, 2015. India has deployed the army and air force to rescue flood-hit residents in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, where at least 71 people have died in a week of torrential rains.
  • Water-logged houses are pictured in a flooded suburb of Chennai on Nov. 17, 2015.
    STR/AFP/Getty Images
    Water-logged houses are pictured in a flooded suburb of Chennai on Nov. 17, 2015.
  • Indian Army personnel rescue flood-affected people during their relief operations in rain-hit areas on the outskirts of Chenn
    STR/AFP/Getty Images
    Indian Army personnel rescue flood-affected people during their relief operations in rain-hit areas on the outskirts of Chennai on Nov. 17, 2015.
  • An Indian couple shelter under an umbrella as they walk with their child through floodwaters inundating Egmore Hospital in Ch
    STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images
    An Indian couple shelter under an umbrella as they walk with their child through floodwaters inundating Egmore Hospital in Chennai on Dec. 1, 2015, during a downpour of heavy rain in the southern Indian city. Heavy rains pounded several parts of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu and inundated most areas of Chennai, severely disrupting flights, train and bus services and forcing the postponement of half-yearly school exams.
  • Indian rescue workers and volunteers use an inflatable boat to take residents through floodwaters in Chennai on Dec. 1, 2015.
    STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images
    Indian rescue workers and volunteers use an inflatable boat to take residents through floodwaters in Chennai on Dec. 1, 2015.
  • An Indian laborer pushes his cycle trishaw through floodwaters in Chennai on Dec. 1, 2015.
    STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images
    An Indian laborer pushes his cycle trishaw through floodwaters in Chennai on Dec. 1, 2015.
  • Rescuers try to evacuate a man stranded in the floods by an overflowing Adyar River in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, on Dec. 2,
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Rescuers try to evacuate a man stranded in the floods by an overflowing Adyar River in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, on Dec. 2, 2015. Weeks of torrential rains have forced the Chennai airport in southern India to close and have cut off several roads and highways, leaving tens of thousands of people stranded in their homes, government officials.
  • A man carries a dog and wades through a flooded street in Chennai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu on Dec. 2, 2015
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A man carries a dog and wades through a flooded street in Chennai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu on Dec. 2, 2015.
  • Indian residents attempt to push a vehicle through floodwaters as others wade past in Chennai on Dec. 2, 2015. India has depl
    STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images
    Indian residents attempt to push a vehicle through floodwaters as others wade past in Chennai on Dec. 2, 2015. India has deployed troops to Tamil Nadu and closed the main airport there after heavy rains worsened weeks of flooding that has killed nearly 200 people in the southern coastal state. Thousands of rescuers carrying diving equipment, inflatable boats and medical equipment were battling to evacuate victims across the flooded state, officials said. 
  • Indian rescue personnel and police officials paddle an inflatable boat through floodwaters as they evacuate residents in Chen
    STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images
    Indian rescue personnel and police officials paddle an inflatable boat through floodwaters as they evacuate residents in Chennai on Dec. 2, 2015.
  • A woman and children are rescued on a boat from a flooded Kotturpuram area in Chennai, India, on Dec. 2, 2015.
    R Senthil Kumar/Press Trust of India/Associated Press
    A woman and children are rescued on a boat from a flooded Kotturpuram area in Chennai, India, on Dec. 2, 2015.
  • An Indian family wade through floodwaters in Chennai on Dec. 2, 2015. 
    STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images
    An Indian family wade through floodwaters in Chennai on Dec. 2, 2015. 
  • People wade through a flooded street in Chennai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, on Dec. 2, 2015. 
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    People wade through a flooded street in Chennai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, on Dec. 2, 2015. 
  • Indian bystanders and travelers gather as floodwaters lap at the end of a highway in Chennai on Dec. 2, 2015.
    STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images
    Indian bystanders and travelers gather as floodwaters lap at the end of a highway in Chennai on Dec. 2, 2015.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post said Chennai has a population of about 70 million. It is actually about 4.5 million.

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