Cyclone Michaung makes landfall in India’s south; 9 killed earlier in floods, rain

Published December 5, 2023
People move in a boat past partially submerged vehicles in a residential area following heavy rains ahead of Cyclone Michaung in Chennai, India, December 4. — Reuters
People move in a boat past partially submerged vehicles in a residential area following heavy rains ahead of Cyclone Michaung in Chennai, India, December 4. — Reuters

Cyclone Michaung hit the southern India coast on Tuesday afternoon after torrential rains sent tall waves crashing into coastal towns, submerging roads and killing at least nine people, including a child.

The cyclone made landfall in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh near the town of Bapatla, the weather office said, barrelling in with winds of up to 110 kilometres per hour.

“The landfall process is continuing and is expected to complete during the next three hours,” the Indian Meteorological Department said on social media platform X.

Parts of the state are expected to be pelted with more than 200 millimetres of rain over the next 24 hours, the weather office said earlier, and at least 8,000 people have been evacuated.

A four-year-old boy died in Tirupati district after a wall fell, C. Nagaraju, executive director of the state’s disaster management authority said, while eight people were killed in neighbouring Tamil Nadu state, officials said.

 National Disaster Response Force personnel row a boat through a flooded street, during a rescue operation to help trapped civilians following heavy rainfall in Chennai on December 4. — AFP
National Disaster Response Force personnel row a boat through a flooded street, during a rescue operation to help trapped civilians following heavy rainfall in Chennai on December 4. — AFP

In Tamil Nadu’s capital Chennai, a major electronics and manufacturing hub, residents were seen wading waist-deep through the murky floodwaters, which swept away cars and submerged a runway, triggering the shutdown of one of India’s busiest airports until Tuesday morning.

The rains have stopped and water has receded at Chennai airport, and the airfield was operational from 9am local time, a spokesperson for the federal civil aviation ministry said.

The rains and winds also snapped power lines and uprooted trees, officials said, and over 140 trains and 40 flights were cancelled in Andhra Pradesh.

Taiwan’s Foxconn and Pegatron halted Apple iPhone production at their facilities near Chennai due to heavy rains, sources familiar with the matter said on Monday.

In December 2015, floods in Tamil Nadu killed at least 290 people and caused widespread damage.

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