India has deployed the army and air force to rescue flood-hit residents in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, where at least 71 people have died in around a week of torrential rains.

Media reports said military helicopters were being used to drop food and drinking water to the worst-hit areas, while schools and businesses in state capital Chennai had been forced to close.

Caused by a depression formed in the Bay of Bengal, the heavy rains have also affected the states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, as well as neighbouring Sri Lanka.

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