The Kosasthalaiyar, Cooum and Adyar Rivers all flow through the coastal flats of Chennai.
During the monsoon, the rivers can overtop and join each other, creating a complex system of flooding.
The natural lakes and ponds that hold the floodwaters are now largely filled. Earthworks for railways, highways and property development continue to reduce the capacity of the city's rivers.
Rain used to fall on the forest and earth. After the soil soaked, runoff would begin to fill the rivers.
Today rainfall lands on bitumen, concrete and tin roofing. High volumes now flow straight to the rivers.
Homes are inundated for days, some for weeks on end. This results in overcrowding, disease and disempowerment.
Impacts on women and children are especially challenging when safe toilet facilities or clean environments to feed and change are not available.
Informal settlements often develop nearby the rivers.
This leads to a situation where the people least able to deal with the flooding are the most vulnerable to it.
At least 470 people were killed by the floods in Tamil Nadu between October and December 2015.
Chennai Metropolitan Area has an economy of US$210 billion.
It produces 30% and exports 60% of all India's cars.
It is the largest electronics exporter in India.
When floods occur, supply chains are disrupted, factories closed and wages and profitability are lost.
Rebuilding efforts occur under urgent conditions, when resources and labour are expensive.
Local emergency services require support from the Army. This mobilisation draws resources from across the country.
The business investment required to build a strong economy can be deterred by the risk of flooding.
Building contingency plan infrastructure is expensive for companies.
Flood insurance can be non-existant or not affordable.
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