India gets cash flowing in flood-hit south as banks open Sunday

A woman carries her child and milk packets as she wades through a flooded street in Chennai, India, on Dec 5, 2015.
A woman carries her child and milk packets as she wades through a flooded street in Chennai, India, on Dec 5, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS
People wade through a flooded road in Chennai, India, on Dec 5, 2015.
People wade through a flooded road in Chennai, India, on Dec 5, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS
Flood-affected people raise their hands to receive free food being distributed by Indian Navy personnel in Chennai, India, on Dec 5, 2015.
Flood-affected people raise their hands to receive free food being distributed by Indian Navy personnel in Chennai, India, on Dec 5, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS
Indian relief workers load supplies for flood victims in Chennai on Dec 5, 2015.
Indian relief workers load supplies for flood victims in Chennai on Dec 5, 2015. PHOTO: AFP
Indian volunteers distribute packets of milk to flood affected residents in Chennai on Dec 5, 2015.
Indian volunteers distribute packets of milk to flood affected residents in Chennai on Dec 5, 2015. PHOTO: AFP
National Disaster Response Force personnel carry an elderly man rescued from floodwaters in Chennai, India, on Dec 4, 2015.
National Disaster Response Force personnel carry an elderly man rescued from floodwaters in Chennai, India, on Dec 4, 2015.PHOTO: EPA

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India's banks will work on Sunday (Dec 6) to aid residents left without food, power and access to money in the flood-hit southern city of Chennai and surrounding areas, as cash dispensers have been emptied or lost power due to electricity outtages.

India's fourth-largest city was swamped by torrential rains - the heaviest in a century - during the past five days, and the government has asked banks to restore basic services and supply cash machines as swiftly as possible, replenishing cash by boat or providing mobile ATMs if necessary.

In a statement late on Saturday, the Reserve Bank of India, the country's central bank, said it would remain open to support bank transactions and help supply cash to local lenders.

About 280 people have died across Tamil Nadu state since it was hit by torrential rains on Dec 1 that left large sections of capital Chennai under up to 2.5 metres of water, and trapped people on rooftops with no communication.