Chennai airport reopens as Indian city limps back from deluge

This photograph released by the Press Information Bureau on Dec 2, 2015, shows an aerial view of the submerged Chennai airport taken from an Indian Air Force helicopter.
This photograph released by the Press Information Bureau on Dec 2, 2015, shows an aerial view of the submerged Chennai airport taken from an Indian Air Force helicopter. PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI/CHENNAI (Bloomberg) - Some commercial flights restarted from Chennai on Sunday (Dec 6) after being suspended since Dec 2 as the southern Indian city struggled to limp back from its worst deluge in a century.

Daytime operations for domestic flights will begin from Sunday morning, according to a late Saturday statement on India's Press Information Bureau website. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the regulator, will decide on night operations on Sunday.

A threefold increase in seasonal rainfall led to overflowing lakes and reservoirs wreaking havoc across a vast swathe of the metropolis of 9 million people and its surrounding areas. The Times of India reported 450 rain-related deaths as of Dec 5, and the toll is expected to rise.

More than 28,000 people have been rescued by the National Disaster Response Force and Indian armed forces, according a government statement on Saturday. The rainfall has weakened since Dec 4 and flood waters are receding, according to the statement. Power has been restored in more than 90 per cent of India's fourth-largest city.

Road connectivity has been restored and city bus service is functioning, while train services will start normal operations from Dec 7, according to the statement.