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Rains wreak havoc in Tamil Nadu, death toll mounts to 71

Source: PTI
Last updated on: November 17, 2015 00:01 IST
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The North-East monsoon continued to wreak havoc in Tamil Nadu with rains pounding the northern coastal districts and more being forecast for the coming days in the state, where the death toll as climbed to 71.

Twelve more persons have been killed in incidents of drowning and wall-collapse between November 11 and 15, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa said as she also took stock of the situation at a review meeting with her cabinet colleagues and officials.

A man wades through knee-high water in Chennai. Photograph: PTI

Condoling the death of the victims, she announced a relief of Rs four lakh each to their families. Seventy-one people have died in rail related incidents so far.

Normal life has been hit in Tamil Nadu as incessant rains led to inundation of large areas and authorities have shut down educational institutions. The weather office forecast heavy downpour in the next three days in the state, Puducherry and coastal Andhra Pradesh

Overnight rains pounded Chennai and its suburbs, giving citizens a harrowing time. Subways at T Nagar and Saidapet in the city were inundated, resulting in their closure.

The district administration had declared a holiday for schools and colleges in the wake of the heavy downpour that had severely affected roads.

The well-marked low pressure over Southwest Bay of Bengal off Tamil Nadu, which had brought incessant rains, is likely to move north-westwards towards north Tamil Nadu coast and could concentrate into a depression during next 24 hours, the weather office said.

Heavy to very heavy rainfall with isolated extremely heavy falls had occurred at a few places over north Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and at isolated places over Rayalaseema and Coastal Andhra Pradesh between 8.30 am on Sunday and 8.30 am on Monday.

A boat plying in the Velachery area of South Chennai. Photograph: ANI/Twitter

The magnitude of the north east monsoon could be gauged by rainfall statistics available till 8.30 am on Monday, with Ponneri in Tiruvallur recording 37 cm.

Tambaram and Mahabalipuram (both Kancheepuram) recorded 33 cm each even as Chengalpattu in the district and Thamaraipakkam and Puzhal (Tiruvalur) registered in excess of 30 cm.

Meanwhile, the levels in reservoirs addressing the drinking water needs of the city were increasing, bringing relief to water managers.

The water level at Chembarambakkam stood at 81.80 feet against the full capacity of 85.40 feet, prompting authorities to discharge excess water into the Adyar river.

Water gushed through Adyar as the swollen river presented a rare sight for residents of Chennai do not generally witness it in such spate.

With surging water levels in Adyar, Chennai Collector A Sundaravalli urged residents living on the banks of the river to move to safer zones.

The combined water storage in the main reservoirs feeding Chennai -- Poondi, Cholavaram, Redhills and Porur, was at 7,023 mcft, as against the total capacity of 11,057 mc ft.

Last year on this day, it was just 2,973 mcft, data released by Chennai Metro Water and Sewerage Supply Board said.

People wade through a waterlogged road following heavy rains at Vyasarpadi in Chennai. Photograph: PTI

Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa announced allocation of Rs 500 crore towards relief and rehabilitation.

The Army's help has been sought to rescue stranded people at nearby Tambaram, she said.

"I have allocated Rs 500 crore towards relief and rehabilitation with immediate effect," she said.

Jayalalithaa said that besides spending for relief and rehabilitation, the allocation would also be used for disbu sement of solatium to affected people In a statement, the CM said she had directed officials to further expedite relief and rehabilitaion measures in the wake of the government announcing the Rs 500 crore relief package.

Detailing the government's initiatives in the affected districts, especially the worst-affected Cuddalore, she said power supply had been restored in 671 of 683 affected rural body areas. Besides 40 medical camps were functioning. As many as 121 camps had been held to cater to cattle while fodder for animals was being given free of cost.

In 70 relief camps, 58,000 food packets were being distributed, she said.

In Nagapattinam district, incessant rains continued for the third consecutive day on Monday, throwing normal life out of gear. Paddy crops on hundreds of acres of land remain submerged in the region.

More than 10,000 fishermen did not venture out to sea for the fourth consecutive day.

Senior IAS officer Shivdas Meena, appointed as the flood monitoring officer for Nagapattinam district, toured various parts of the district along with Collector S Pazhanisamy.

Kollidam, Thalaignayiru and Ananthamangalam areas, which have been identified as flood prone areas, are under round-the-clock vigil.

Speaking to reporters, Meena said 12 cyclone shelters have been kept ready to offer emergency services.

Three teams from the National Disaster Response Force are camping at Poompuhar, Kollidam and Sirkazhi to help people.

A report from Coimbatore said the first floor of an over 60-year-old building on Big Bazaar area in the city, which was lashed by heavy rains last week, collapsed on Monday. The first floor functioned as a godown of a textile merchant and the ground floor housed a fancy store.

The first floor came down around 5.30 am and under the impact, the shop on the ground floor was partially damaged, police said. However, there were no casualties, they said, adding the loss is yet to be estimated.

Meanwhile, educational institutions in neighbouring Puducherry and Karaikal remained closed today in the wake of heavy downpour.

The UnionTerritory recorded 11.09 cm rain in the last 24 hours ending 8.30 am on Monday, official sources said.

Though there was a respite in the rains since 9 am, the sky remained overcast.

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