The northeast 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. 12 more persons have been killed in incidents of drowning and wall-collapse between 11 and 15 November, chief minister J. Jayalalithaa said as she also took stock of the situation at a review meeting with her cabinet colleagues and officials.
Condoling the death of the victims, she announced a relief of Rs.4 lakh each to their families. 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. The magnitude of the northeast 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 (CMWSB) said.
The government on Monday rushed 11 teams comprising over 400 personnel of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) responders to conduct relief and rescue operations in rain-hit Tamil Nadu. These NDRF teams of will also be carrying 38 inflatable rubber boats along with other necessary equipment to undertake quick operations in the state. NDRF director general O.P. Singh told PTI that the teams are being sent in from the Arakkonam (Tamil Nadu) and Guntur (Andhra Pradesh) bases of the force.
“These teams are being immediately deployed in Tamil Nadu. Apart from conducting rescue operations, these teams will assist local administration of various districts to distribute relief material, food items and medicines to the affected people,” he said. The NDRF DG said the teams will fan out as the situation in the state develops. He said the force has also pre-positioned relief and rescue teams to undertake immediate action in the coastal areas of Rayalaseema and interiors of south Karnataka as the India meteorological department has forecasted heavy rains in these areas in the next few days.
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