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Record Levels of Rainfall Threaten India’s Textile Industry

When it rains, it pours, and in the southern Indian city of Chennai, more than 14 inches of rain fell over a 24-hour period on Dec. 1 and broke a 100-year-old record.

Now, as the city starts its slow return to normalcy after days of severe flooding, it’s unclear when the area’s textile factories can reopen.

Though Chennai is best known for its automobile industry (it’s not called the Detroit of India for nothing), it’s also home to more than 500 apparel and leather exporters, buying houses and other textile-related businesses, according to local media reports.

Some of the city’s fabric and garment exporters include A.I. Enterprises, Meridian Apparels, R.K. Industries, Magnum Clothing, StanFab Apparels, Vijay Enterprises and P.S. Apparels, CCF Group reported, adding that the companies’ combined annual turnover is about 800 crore rupees (or $119.9 billion).

Some industry insiders have said that the damage caused to the textile trade by the flooding could be worth billions of rupees.

“The financial loss due to record-breaking rainfall in Chennai and several parts of Tamil Nadu may even exceed the 15,000 crore rupees (about $2.2 billion) mark as Chennai has come to a virtual standstill and is in the grip of fear and panic,” said the Associated Chambers of Commerce of India.