1943 Madras floods

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The 1943 Chennai floods are considered to be the worst-ever floods to hit the city of Madras (now Chennai) in India. The floods occurred during the North-East monsoon, and caused immense damage to life and property.


Lying on the Bay of Bengal coast, Chennai is prone to violent storms and thundershowers during the North-East monsoon (September - November). In October 1943, there were continuous rains lasting over six days. The Coovum and the Adyar rivers overflowed inundating the surrounding residential areas.


Due to excessive rains, both the Coovum and the Adyar rivers overflowed flooding the surrounding residential areas. The damage caused by the Adyar river was minimal due to the fact that the surrounding areas were well-planned and constructed. The brunt of the damage was borne by the slums that lay on the banks of the Coovum. Slums in Lock Cheri, Choolaimedu, Perambur, Kosapet, Kondithope and Chintadripet were washed out and people sought refuge in the Ripon Building. Perambur was filled with dead bodies floating on the water surface. There were casualties in Medavakkam and Purasawalkam. The police used boats and catamarans to row people to safety.

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