Chennai is a city in Southeast India, it is the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu. It’s about 200 miles east of Bangalore (which is dry). Recently, they have been hit with a super monsoon, causing extreme flooding. This is what the airport currently looks like:
The super monsoon was caused by an extremely strong El Nino – possibly the strongest in recorded history. In Chennai, 300 people are already dead and heavy rains won’t let up for at least three days. The airport is closed until December 6th, and all trains have been canceled as well. Most are without electricity, and the shops that are actually still open are charging double and triple the rates for water and basic foods. Long story short – it’s not good.
Technology and social media are helping residents navigate the city. Crowdsourced map apps are popping up, allowing people to mark which roads are passable and which are not. Facebook groups, Twitter hashtags and Google docs were made for people to either request housing, offer a spare room, report a missing loved one or say that someone is stranded. Uber offered free rides and is transporting medicines and food. Zomato, an Indian food rating and delivery app created a program where customers could send a meal for two to Chennai and Zomato would match it. After starting this a day ago, they’ve had to pause – in today alone they’ve had 55,000 orders (so with Zomato’s match, that makes 110,000) and they had to stop as to not overwhelm the restaurants. They hope to have it up and running again tomorrow.
If you’re in India, please consider ordering from Zomato once they have resumed their service. This website also has some pretty awesome ways to help, most involving apps and social media for donations if you’re in India. If you’re abroad and want to help, you can check out AID India. They have a relief team on the ground and are constructing camps and temporary shelters for those in need. You can check out their website here.