As well, when the waters recede to form puddles they provide a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes that can spread malaria and dengue fever.
Some in the city are profiting from the misery. There are reports of price gouging for such essentials as clean drinking water and milk for infants. With the mucky waters reaching the first floors of substantial buildings most food in residences has been destroyed.
The poor are the hardest hit. Chennai has extensive slums. The shelters are often flimsy and have been completely destroyed by the floods. The poor traditionally are relegated to those areas less desirable or safe for living.
Authorities may have made the situation worse in the short term by releasing water from dams and lakes in order to avoid uncontrollable breaches. They have been criticized for lack of planning for emergencies as city dwellers see the roads, telephone and water work destroyed. Urban planners have allowed building on marshy ground and on flood plains. The airport that is currently shut to commercial flights is built on the floodplain of the Adyar River.
Damage estimates losses at over USD$ 2 billion. Confirmed death count 245.
Times of India
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