Thousands of residents have been rescued by boat or plucked from rooftops after the floods left much of Chennai, a city of more than four million, underwater. Power supplies and phone networks were also hit. Soldiers and other emergency workers who poured into the southeastern state have now switched to rushing food, clean drinking water and medical supplies to hard-hit residents. The army has distributed relief materials including water and food to over 20,000 people. Some 200,000 acres of paddy, sugarcane and other crops have been destroyed by the floods that have caused untold misery in all four districts. About 280 people have died across Tamil Nadu since torrential rains on December 1 submerged tracts of Chennai under up to eight feet (2.5 metres) of water, trapping people on rooftops with no communication.