India’s 4th most populous metro area turns into an island; USCG Chennai to close until Dec 7

Posted: 1:01 pm EDT
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USCG Chennai is headed by Phillip A. Min who assumed post last year. We’ve asked @USAmbIndia how USG employees are holding up in Chennai but have not received a response.  Post did issue an updated emergency message on December 4 saying that ConGen Chennai has sustained major flood damage, and is closed for all services Friday December 4 and Monday December 7. Travelers are asked to defer all travel to the area. The Ambassador to India Richard Verma tweeted that he is “Thinking of all in Chennai & monitoring situation closely – hoping for drier days ahead.”

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Via The Indian Express:

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said Chennai has turned into an island. “It would not be an exaggeration to say that. Since the day before, Chennai has been cut off from all national and state highways,” said Singh, responding to a discussion in the Lok Sabha on the flood situation in the country’s southern region. […] The minister added that in the 24 hours beginning December 1, 8.30 pm, Chennai has received 330 mm of rain, which exceeds the rain the city receives for the entire month of December, thereby “breaking a 100-year record”.

According to World Population Review, Chennai has an estimated population of 4.9 million, with an area that has grown from 176 square kilometers to 426 square kilometers after a 2011 expansion. The urban agglomeration, which includes the city and suburbs, has a population estimated at 9 million. This makes it the 4th most populous metropolitan area in India and the 31st largest urban area in the world.

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USCG Chennai “Braves” Flood, Plans to Open With Limited Staff –ZOMG! (Updated)

Posted: 2:58 am EDT
Updated: 12:39 pm EDT
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Update: USCG Chennai has now posted the following announcement: 

In the interest of public safety, and due to the flooding in Chennai, the U.S. Consulate General in Chennai will be closed for normal Consular operations, including nonimmigrant visa appointments and non-emergency American Citizen Services (ACS), on Thursday, December 3, 2015 and Friday, December 4, 2015.

It has also issued an Emergency Message to U.S. citizens:

The city of Chennai and surrounding areas in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu as well as the adjacent Union Territory of Pondicherry (Puducherry) have experienced very heavy rains in recent weeks resulting in localized flooding, which has been severe in some areas. The Adyar River has overflowed its banks and rains are expected to continue for several days. U.S. citizens visiting and residing in the area should exercise caution. All flights into and out of Chennai International Airport have been temporarily suspended until at least Thursday morning. Power has been cut throughout Chennai, though some hotels and businesses continue to operate with back-up generators. Most hotels that remain open report that they are at capacity. The U.S. Consulate General in Chennai remains open with minimal staffing but has temporarily suspended visa services and non-emergency services for U.S. citizens. Travelers should consider deferring non-essential travel to the area.

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Chennai is currently suffering its worst flooding in a hundred years. The deluge is forcing airport and factory closures in the city. The US Consulate in Chennai says it is tentatively planning to open with limited staff although it is “urging” applicants to reschedule their visa interviews. Folks … this would be where “out of an abundance of caution” would really work.

Chennai Post: Due to the flooding in Chennai, the U.S. Consulate in Chennai strongly urges applicants with visa appointments scheduled for Wednesday, December 2 not to come to their scheduled appointment. While the consulate is tentatively planning to open with extremely limited staff, wait times will be long and due to the potential for an unexpected closure, we cannot guarantee applicants who come will be interviewed. We encourage applicants to reschedule their existing appointments at the Visa Application Center for biometric enrolment and their interview appointment at the Consulate by logging in to their profile after 8.00 a.m. Thursday, December 3.
[…]
Chennai Visa Application Center: Due to unexpected weather conditions, the Visa Application Center in Chennai will not be able to honour your Biometric appointment on December 2, 2015. You will have to reschedule your existing appointment at the Visa Application Center for your biometric enrolment and your interview appointment at the Consulate. There is no need to contact the call center or customer support—simply login to your profile and reschedule both of your appointments.

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