Cyclone Michaung Batters Southeastern India

Rescuers used boats to help people stranded inside their homes in southeastern India amid widespread flooding caused by Cyclone Michaung, which left at least 13 people dead and forced thousands of evacuations.

Torrential rains preceded the cyclone, which made landfall Tuesday in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Trees were uprooted and infrastructure damaged.  

In nearby Tamil Nadu state, the storm also caused widespread damage and forced the closure of the airport in the capital, Chennai. Many vehicles were swept away in the flooding.

Rescuers had to wade through waist deep waters to reach people stranded in some houses in Tamil Nadu.

Air force helicopters have been used to deliver food to those who are stuck.

Tamil Nadu State Chief Minister M. K. Stalin requested $600 million from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to help pay for recovery efforts.

Some residents of Chennai questioned if the infrastructure could withstand the severe weather. Though improved storm drainage would have helped in “moderate and heavy rainfall,” it would not have prevented flooding in “heavy and extremely heavy rains,” according to civil engineer and geo-analytics expert Raj Bhagat P.

Cyclones are common along the coast of India, although the effects of changing climate have made them more intense and caused difficulty in preparing for severe weather.  

Some information in this report came from Reuters, The Associated Press and Agence France Presse.

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