US offers assistance to India to meet Chennai deluge challenge

Washington DC: The US has offered assistance to India in meeting the humanitarian challenge posed by the Chennai deluge and condoled the loss of lives in the worst flooding faced by the city in decades.

“The US stands ready to assist the people of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, as well as the Government of India as they face the worst flooding in decades,” State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner told reporters.

“We express our deepest condolences to the families of the people who have perished in these floods, and our thoughts are with those families who are still trapped and whose livelihoods are affected,” he said yesterday.

He said the US was in touch with the Indian government to discuss ways in which it can provide any assistance at a “difficult time”.

Toner said so far the US had not received any request for assistance from India.

“We’ve offered our assistance. Certainly, India is a very developed government with its own domestic services or capabilities to provide emergency assistance,” he said.

“That said, it’s something we normally do especially in the cases of strong partners like India…where we offer whatever assistance we can in the aftermath of natural disaster,” Toner said.

While pointing out that the US has a Consulate in Chennai, Toner noted that on December 3 the US Consulate General there issued an emergency message for American citizens, warning of severe flooding taking place in the region.

“It’s closed for all services today and tomorrow, and we advise US citizens to divert all travel to the area. Those in the region are advised to shelter in place, but they also should – both Indians and American citizens — monitor the Consulate General’s website for updates on that,” Toner said.

Heavy rains have lashed the region with over 250 people killed in Tamil Nadu.