Fourteen people killed in heavy rains and flooding in southern India

People travel in a boat in floodwaters in Chennai

At least 14 people have died in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu during several days of heavy rains, officials have said.

Several districts in the state are on high alert, braced for more torrents as a weather depression over the southwest Bay of Bengal was set to cross northern Tamil Nadu on Thursday evening.

The Indian Meteorological Department warned of intense rains in isolated places.

The heavy rains first struck over the weekend, hitting the capital, Chennai.

Photos and videos from the city showed residents wading through knee-deep waters and vehicles nearly submerged in heavily flooded roads.

Two people had died in the last 24 hours, N Subbaiyan, the director of the state’s disaster management, said.

He added that the other 12 people had been killed over the past few days.

At least 800 huts had been destroyed this past week by the rains, Kumar Jayant, from the state’s revenue department, said.

Multiple teams from the National Disaster Response Force had been deployed to help local authorities with rescue efforts.

In Chennai, which is among the worst-hit areas, officials had evacuated hundreds of people from vulnerable areas.

Authorities had also set up more than 100 relief centres and distributed food, local media reported.

Flights into Chennai had been suspended.

A man pushes his bicycle through a flooded street in Chennai

The rains this week are among the heaviest to hit the city since 2015.

Experts have warned that more heavy rains could trigger further flooding and devastation.

“The public should not go out,” Greater Chennai Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi previously told New Delhi Television.

He said authorities had managed to drain the majority of the floodwaters, but cautioned that low-lying areas could once again become inundated.

Rains at this time in Tamil Nadu are not unusual, but experts have warned that climate change has exacerbated the problem, making the downpours more intense and frequent.

Last month, flooding and landslides caused by heavy rains killed at least 28 people in neighbouring Kerala state.

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