Passenger flight operations in the flooded southern Indian city of Chennai resumed Sunday after a four-day gap when a flight to Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands took off from the city’s airport. The Air India flight took off amid reports of a heavy downpour pounding the city, which is already reeling from days of torrential rains.
The airport was expected to only resume daytime flights, according to NDTV, a local news network, even as weather agencies predicted more heavy rains through the day. Thousands have been stranded for days in the city, which is facing heavy flooding that has cost the lives of over 280 people since last month when the rains in the region began.
November was Chennai's wettest in about 100 years, according to some estimates, and the city of about 4 million people received 490 mm of rainfall on Dec. 1 -- the most in a single day in 100 years. The country’s army and disaster relief forces are conducting rescue operations in the region.
The Airports Authority of India, which ordered the airport closed last week, declared the runways fit for operating relief flights Saturday, the Times of India, a local newspaper, reported. On Sunday, passenger flights to the capital, New Delhi, and the southern city of Hyderabad, were also scheduled to resume. The city’s airport usually manages up to 320 landings and take-offs in a day, including international flights, NDTV reported.
Several parts of the city, which experienced prolonged black-outs, received electricity late Saturday as the floodwaters started to recede, according to reports, which added that authorities were now trying to sanitize the region to avoid the outbreak of diseases.