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Natural disasters

Tractors to the rescue as floods submerge India's tech hub

Companies in Bengaluru ask staff to work from home due to chaotic traffic

An unusually wet monsoon season has submerged Bengaluru, India's tech hub.   © Reuters

BENGALURU (Reuters) -- Authorities in the Indian city of Bengaluru used tractors on Tuesday to rescue residents of posh housing estates marooned by floods after two days of torrential rain brought chaos to the fast-growing technology hub.

Many parts of the city in which several global companies and home-grown startups are based were under water as more rain fell in an unusually wet monsoon season, which has brought 162% more rainfall than average since June 1.

"Things are bad. Please take care," Gaurav Munjal, founder of the SoftBank-backed education technology firm Unacademy said on Twitter after he, his family and his dog, Albus, were rescued on a tractor from his posh neighborhood.

With city streets submerged and traffic in chaos, many companies asked staff to work from home. Some city residents struggled to empty out flooded basements and shops, Reuters partner ANI showed in video footage.

Environmentalists blamed the flooding on poor planning as the city has expanded and climate change.

"When you start building on this kind of a landscape and you start paving and crusting the area with homes and roads, the run-off starts to increase," S. Vishwanath, a Bengaluru-based water conservationist told Reuters.

India could expect more intense weather in future, said Leo Saldanha of the Environment Support Group.

"Extreme weather events are predicted to be a part of climate change impacts," he said.

Bengaluru's water supply company said on Monday it would stop the supply of water to more than 50 areas in the city for two days after a pumping station that brings in water from 100 km (60 miles) away was flooded.

Rain was expected to fall in the city and neighboring areas until Friday, an official with the Indian Meteorological Department said.

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