MORE THAN 90 MALAYSIANS STILL STRANDED IN FLOOD-BATTERED CHENNAI

NEW DELHI — As Indian authorities intensify a massive search and rescue operation in flood-battered Chennai in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, more than 90 Malaysians are still stranded in their hotel rooms and homes.

With torrential rains expected in the next 36 hours, danger continues to lurk in Tamil Nadu, the Indian Meteorological Department warned.

At present, as many as 269 people died as the rains pounded the state while 54 people perised in Andhra Pradesh and two deaths were recorded in the state of Puducherry.

Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s arrival in Chennai late Thursday evening, more boats and helicopters were deployed to alleviate the situation in badly-affected areas struck by a second wave of flood.

When contacted, Malaysian Consul-General R. Citra Devi said until Thursday night, 249 Malaysians had contacted the flood crisis center set up by her office for assistance.

“Of the number, 158 were rescued with the help of local authorities, with some managing to find their way to Tiruchi in Tamil Nadu and the Bengaluru International Airport in Karnataka.

“As of 10 this (Friday) morning, 91 Malaysian tourists and students were still stranded but most of them are located in the ‘safe zone’ where in some areas, the flood waters were receding.

“The only major problem we are facing here now is food shortage and we don’t have sufficient logistics support, especially boats to reach out to them,” lamented Citra.

The consul-general said most shops and offices remained closed and the city was still not back on its feet.

Nevertheless, she said the weather had improved and some petrol stations in the city, already operational.

In a related development, Indian aviation authorities announced that seven commercial had resumed this morning from the Rajali Airbase, about 70 km from Chennai, with the international airport remaining shut with its runway still inundated with floodwaters. PNA/Bernama