The heaviest rains in Tamil Nadu in over a century and floods have left 269 people dead, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said yesterday, describing the situation as 'very alarming'.The minister also told the Lok Sabha that 54 people had been killed in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and two in Puducherry.

"There are no two opinions that the situation in Tamil Nadu is very alarming and very critical. It is not an exaggeration to say that Chennai has turned into an island", Singh said in the Lok Sabha and later made a similar statement while replying to a discussions on the floods in Rajay Sabha.

He said all highways leading to Chennai were closed. "Chennai has become an island. All roads connecting to Chennai are inundated", he said.

In Rajya Sabha, he said there is a shortage of drinking water, and if needed water will be airlifted to the city. Chennai, he said, had received torrential rains, and the meteorological department had forecast more rains in the next two-three days.

The minister said rainfall received in Tamil Nadu in 24 hours between December 1 and 2 was 330 mm, while the longtime average for whole month of December is 250 mm. Singh said 30 teams of the National Disaster Response Force and seven columns of the army were engaged in relief and rescue work. The navy had also deployed boats and divers. He said the central government would provide all necessary assistance sought by the Tamil Nadu government.

Singh said he spoke to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa as well as Andhra Pradesh Chief Minsiter N. Chandrababu Naidu and Puducherry Chief Minister A.N. Rangasamy.

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