BENGALORE, India –Authorities in the Indian city of Bangalore on Tuesday used tractors to rescue residents of flood-hit luxury housing estates as army teams were dispatched there after two days of heavy rains at a technology hub.
The government of the state of Karnataka, whose capital is Bangalore, has announced about 3 billion rupees ($38 million) in flood relief aid as many parts of the city, home to several global companies and domestic start-ups, have been submerged.
The city, also referred to as India’s “Silicon Valley”, received more rain during an unusually wet rainy season that has brought 162% more rain than average since June 1.
“The staff is working day and night to drain the water, which is quite difficult… there is no place for the water to drain,” said Basavaraj Bommai, Chief Minister of Karnataka, adding that 69 lakes have burst their banks in two districts of the city. there are 164 lakes in total.
At least one person died after being electrocuted in a flooded street on Monday, according to city police, while the Indian Army and the National Disaster Response Force said they rescued at least 45 people stranded in flooded areas on Tuesday.
“Things are bad. Please be careful,” Gaurav Munjal, founder of Softbank-backed education company Unacademy, tweeted after he, his family and his dog were rescued by tractor.
Due to flooded city streets and chaos on the roads, many companies have asked employees to work from home. Some city residents struggled to free flooded basements and shops, Reuters partner ANI showed in video footage.
“Our business is very dependent on the people on the street – our delivery partners – and solving this problem is a top priority,” said the co-founder of the unicorn startup, who did not want his name and the name of the company to be called.
Even before the rains, the city’s road and transportation infrastructure was in poor shape, said K. Ganesh, an entrepreneur and promoter for Bigbasket and HomeLane, among others.
“I hope this serves as a wake-up call for everyone.”
Environmentalists blamed the flooding on poor planning due to city expansion and climate change.
“When you start building on that kind of landscape and start pave and fill the area with houses and roads, runoff starts to increase,” S. Vishwanath, a Bangalore-based water advocate, told Reuters.
According to Leo Saldanha of the Environment Support Group, India could expect more severe weather in the future.
“Extreme weather events are predicted to be part of the impacts of climate change,” he said.
The Bangalore Water Company said on Monday it would cut off water supplies to more than 50 districts in the city for two days after a pumping station supplying water 100 km (60 miles) away was flooded.
As the state government came under increasing criticism for the city’s infrastructure, Bommai said that everyone needed to work on a military basis, and that it had “become a habit of petty politics.”
Until Friday, rain is expected in the city and neighboring areas, said the official representative of the Indian Meteorological Department.
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