HomeWorld NewsCyclone hits India's south after floods, rains kill 13 people


Cyclone Michong slammed into the southern Indian coast on Tuesday with intense winds, its arrival was preceded by torrential rains and flooding that killed at least 13 people as officials assessed the damage.

Officials said high waves pounded southern coastal towns over the past two days as the cyclone approached, submerging entire villages and halting all transport as more than 390,000 people felt its impact.

The Indian Meteorological Office said Michong made landfall near the beach town of Bapatla in Andhra Pradesh state with winds of 70 mph, which later weakened slightly as the cyclone weakened to a ‘severe’ category. It is expected to weaken further in the next six hours.

The Andhra Pradesh government said trees were uprooted and at least 25 villages were submerged as the cyclone moved north and authorities evacuated more than 15,000 people before landfall.

“We have taken all measures and we have all the equipment. We have also circulated precautions to the public yesterday,” Zahid Khan, an official with the National Disaster Response Force, told news agency ANI. He said that several teams of the force are deployed on the ground.

Officials said the 13 people killed included a 4-year-old child who died after a wall collapsed on him. More than 140 trains and 40 flights were canceled in the state.

Reading Chennai airport runway flooded as Cyclone Michong approaches India

The weather office said up to eight inches of rainfall is expected in the state in the next 24 hours.

In Chennai, the capital of neighboring Tamil Nadu, a major electronics and manufacturing hub, residents waded through waist-deep flood waters that also swept away cars.

The floods revived memories of similar rains in Chennai eight years ago that killed 290 people, as some activists raised questions about whether the city’s infrastructure could handle extreme weather events.

On efforts to improve storm water drainage systems in the city, civil engineer and geo-analysis expert Raj Bhagat P said: “Their solutions will help a lot in moderate and heavy rains, but not in very heavy and extremely heavy rains.”

Chennai airport, one of the busiest airports in the country, was closed on Monday after one of the runways was submerged and reopened at 9 am on Tuesday, a spokesperson of the federal civil aviation ministry said.

Taiwan’s Foxconn (2317.TW) and Pegatron (4938.TW) halted Apple (AAPL.O) iPhone production at their facilities near Chennai on Monday due to rain, sources told Reuters. Foxconn resumed operations on Tuesday.

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