Seventeen people died after a wall collapsed on three houses early on Monday in Nadur village of Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore district during heavy rain, reported PTI. At least 12 bodies had been recovered from under the debris earlier in the day, and operations are on to rescue the others.
The state government announced a compensation of Rs four lakh to each of the victims’ families. Chief Minister K Palaniswami is expected to visit them on Tuesday, according to The Indian Express.
Heavy rain has lashed coastal Tamil Nadu for the last three days and continued on Monday. At least 25 people have been killed in rain-related incidents since November 29, including the 17 in the wall collapse in Coimbatore, PTI reported. With the intensification of the northeast monsoon, around 1,000 residents were moved to relief camps in Cuddalore, Tirunelveli, Tuticorin – the worst-affected districts.
Schools and colleges in six districts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry were closed on Monday as the weather department predicted heavy downpour, reported the Hindustan Times. Examinations of Madras University and Anna University that were scheduled for Monday were postponed.
“Due to low atmospheric pressure, there will be heavy and moderate rain in Chennai and widespread rain in coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, due to a cyclonic circulation near Comorin on the Indian Ocean,” an India Meteorological Department official said earlier.
The regional meteorological centre issued a red alert for the six districts of Tiruvallur, Thoothukudi, Ramanathapuram, Chengalpattu, Kancheepuram and Cuddalore. Of these, Thoothukudi has been worst hit as roads and railways tracks are submerged.
Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam chaired a review meeting along with senior officials and Cabinet members on Monday. The chief minister instructed authorities to monitor reservoirs that are full or filling up quickly.
The heavy downpour also claimed the lives of 58 cows and damaged more than 1,700 thatched and tiled roof homes. The chief minister asked rescue personnel to remain on standby with the required equipment, while officials were asked to ensure precautionary measures were taken. Stocks of medicine, food, and diesel generators among other things were being prepared to provide relief.
Chennai, too, has been receiving heavy rain since Saturday morning and several areas are flooded. The local administration is ready with 630 pumps to drain out water from low-lying areas and six tree-clearing machines. The Chennai Corporation has also set up a helpline to register complaints of water-logging and falling trees. It has also set up 176 relief centres and four community kitchens. “Boats have also been kept ready at 109 locations to evacuate people if needed,” the Chennai Corporation said in a statement.
Tamil Nadu Industries Minister MC Sampath, who visited the flood-affected areas in Cuddalore district, said the government was taking actions to drain out water. “Around 1,000 people have been evacuated from flood-hit houses,” he said. “People have been moved to temporary relief camps. Food and Medical assistance have been kept ready.”
State Education Minister KA Sengottaiyan has said that the damaged textbooks of children in government schools in Chennai will be replaced with new sets.
Opposition leader MK Stalin has urged the state government to work on a war footing to prevent damages and loss of life.