Heavy rain hits rescue work in TN


The death toll could go up even further, as “we have not seen such huge landslips in the Nilgiris as suffered in the last two days since 1978,” official sources told Deccan Herald over the phone on Tuesday.

Coonoor, Udaghamandalam (Ooty) and Kothagiri have borne the brunt of the destruction amid very heavy monsoon rain pounding the district, sources said. The dead so far included 17 men, 18 women and eight children.

An exorbitantly high 82 cm of rainfall at Ketti in one single day, followed by very heavy rainfall in other places like Coonoor (34 cm) and Ooty (18 cm) in the district triggered the landslips along the slopes of the Western Ghats. The earth caved in at several places on Monday night, fatally trapping scores of people sleeping in their homes.

“Luckily, the downpour has considerably lessened this afternoon and we have shifted nearly 1,000 people from landslip-prone areas to relief camps in safer places to stop further casualties,”  the Nilgiris District Collector (DC), Anandrao Vishnu Patil told Deccan Herald. 

The staggering rainfall, tree falls at many places and the misty climate were adding to the woes, as rescue workers were hampered in reaching the affected places to pull out bodies from landslip-hit homes. Over 300 houses have been damaged so far and accessibility was the main problem, he said.

However, the government was giving all possible assistance to speed up the rescue and relief works, the DC said. After a review meeting at Chennai on Tuesday, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi has asked Ministers Veerapandi S Arumugam and Pongalur Palanisamy to rush to Nilgiris to oversee the relief operations. Union Telecom Minister A Raja is also rushing to Nilgiris.

Vehicular traffic has been paralysed in the hill-district, with large breaches to roads reported at quite a few places, said Patil. At two places on the Ooty-Coonoor-Mettupalayam road, the breaches were awesome, but efforts were being made “on a war-footing” to restore that vital road link to the rest of the state quickly, the DC said. Educational institutions have been shut for the second week, he added.

Nine teams, including doctors, have fanned out to the various affected places to speed up the relief works and to make an assessment of the extensive damage caused to roads, houses and other infrastructure.

Toll crosses 60

The total rain-related deaths across Tamil Nadu crossed the 60-mark on Tuesday, reports DHNS from Chennai. North-East monsoon rains have been battering the State in the last four days.

With the monsoon intensifying, several rivers in South Tamil Nadu, including the Tamiraparani in Tirunelveli and the Vaigai in Madurai, are in spate. Hundreds of tanks have breached in some of the severely rain-hit southern districts,including Cuddalore, Nagapattinam and Tiruvarur districts.

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