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With the death toll due to the Chennai floods crossing the 200 mark, the NDRF has sent additional teams to aid the rescue efforts. Teams of the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF), army, navy and commandos of police and fire service personnel were deployed for rescue and relief works in the worst-affected areas of Kotturpuram, Jafferkhanpet and Nandanam on the banks of the Adyar river that has been in spate for the last two days. NDRF Director General O P Singh said the force will intensify its operations in the affected areas from today as more of its men are being deployed on the ground. He said over 100 boats, 22 divers, 445 life jackets and 328 buoys have been pressed in by the force and more such rescue items are being dispatched. The force has already tasked two DIG rank officers and a Commandant in Chennai to oversee operations in the affected areas. A Navy official involved in the rescue efforts said that most of the places are flooded and lot of efforts are going on both on the ground and by air. “An aircraft is going to evict people stranded at the civil airport. So we are going to establish an air bridge between Meenambakam civil airport at Chennai and Arakkonam. So that maximum people will be transferred to Arakkonam. And thereafter they will be thrown out,” the official said.
The Airport Authority of India had late last night announced that Chennai airport will remain shut till December 6 in the wake of the downpour and predictions of more rains. The death toll in the rains that have lashed the city and other parts of state has gone up to 197, officials said. All modes of transport–air, road and rail services– have been hit due to the unprecedented deluge, leaving thousands of passengers stranded at the airport and various rail terminals. Adding to the worry of the citizens and administration, the weatherman has forecast more rainfall under the influence of a trough of low pressure and upper air circulation over the southwest Bay of Bengal and Sri Lankan coast. Thereafter, the state will see an anti-cyclone activity which will be associated with “heavy rains” at some places. Chief Minister Jayalaliathaa is likely to make an aerial survey of the flood-hit areas of Chennai and its suburbs and the neighbouring districts of Tiruvallur and Kanchipuram. Milk and other essentials like vegetables are in short supply. A half-litre packet of milk was being sold at Rs.50 in many areas.