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Indian floods ‘follow predicted climate pattern’

11 December 2015

Reuters

In search of relief: a woman walks in an alley filled with mud and debris, as clothes are hung out to dry, after floodwaters recede in Chennai on Monday

In search of relief: a woman walks in an alley filled with mud and debris, as clothes are hung out to dry, after floodwaters recede in Chennai on Mond...

WORSE is expected after devastating floods in southern India killed at least 280 people.

The flooding in Tamil Nadu state, whose capital is Chennai (formerly known as Madras), is the worst for 100 years.

Last month, there was non-stop rain for a week. When fresh rain fell again last week, it caused massive flooding. Thousands of people fled their homes for relief shelters. Eighteen patients are believed to have died on an intensive-care ward in a hospital in Chennai when a power-cut caused by the floods caused ventilators to fail.

Christian Aid said that there had been six floods in the region in 2015, and that the latest floods underlined the urgency with which a tough agreement on emissions needed to be the outcome of the Paris Climate Change Conference.

Before setting out for the conference, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, tweeted: “We are feeling the impact of fast-paced climate change.” He has announced a £100-million relief package for the region.

Christian Aid’s regional manager for South Asia, Ram Kishan, said: “The situation is very bad; access to water has been affected, people have been stranded, and schools and other public buildings have been marooned.

“There is a huge population of poor people in the state capital Chennai, and they are now at great risk of food shortages and sanitation problems.

“Although we cannot say that climate change has been a direct cause of these floods, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that we can expect an increase in intensity and frequency of these kinds of events.

“In India, this year, we are seeing both. These are the sixth severe floods we’ve experienced in 2015, and the worst floods in Chennai for 100 years. We have also experienced floods in places that are not usually hit, like Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Manipur.

“This shows the drastic need for adaptation. We need to get organised and take precautions. India is a very coastal country and this will likely only get worse.”

The Church of South India has launched an emergency response to help victims of the flooding. Volunteers, food, and water have been sent to the region by other dioceses. The diocese of Trichy-Tanjore has sent 1200 litres of milk, which is being distributed by volunteers from the diocese of Madras.

Forecasters have predicted more heavy rains over the next few days.

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