Kerala Kaumudi Online
Wednesday, 27 May 2020 6.26 AM IST

20 killed and many trapped as wall collapses in heavy rains in Coimbatore


COIMBATORE: The death toll in Monday’s wall collapse incident rose to 20 as more people were feared trapped under the debris in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore, officials said, as heavy rains continued to lash several districts including Chennai.

The compound wall collapsed on four houses at Nadur in Mettupalayam due to heavy rains.

The torrential rain over the past two days had already claimed five lives.

The regional meteorological centre in Chennai has predicted more showers in the next 24 hours and issued a red alert for six districts in Tamil Nadu.

“Thiruvallur, Vellore, Thiruvannamalai, Thoothukkudi, Ramanathapuram and Tirunelveli districts in Tamil Nadu would receive extremely heavy rainfall (above 20cm) in the next 24 hours,” the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD’s) Chennai regional centre alerted.

The district administration in Chennai has declared a holiday for schools and colleges on Monday.

According to Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Agency, schools will be closed in Chengelpet, Thiruvallur, Ramanathapuram, Thoothukkudi, Ramanathapuram and Cuddalore districts too.

In view of heavy rainfall forecast, examinations of Madras University and Anna University scheduled for Monday have been postponed.

Following the IMD alert, the Puducherry government on Sunday ordered schools to remain shut on Monday.

The heavy rain has left several sub-urban areas of Chennai waterlogged. These include Shozhinganallur, Pallavaram, Tambaram, Nanmangalam and Selaiyur.

The rain has partially submerged more than 100 houses in the outskirts of Chennai. Chennai City Corporation has opened helplines for people who need assistance to drain out the water.

Several places in Cuddalore, Nagapattinam and Thoothukkudi districts have also been waterlogged.

According to the locals in Cuddalore, around 5000 houses in low lying areas of the coastal town have been marooned. About 500 people from KS Pettai in Cuddalore town have been forced to take shelter in a private marriage hall.

Farmers in the delta district said that the sudden rain has inundated more than 5000 acres of the Samba (a variety of rice) crops.

Opposition leader and DMK President MK Stalin urged the state government to work on a war footing to prevent damages and loss of life.

The Central government’s Water Resources department also had sent a warning to Tamil Nadu Government about increasing water levels in the state.

The water storage level in Chennai’s major reservoirs such as Chembaramkkam, Poondi Sathiyamoorthi, Redhills and Cholavaram have been increasing since Friday. These reservoirs had dried up in June last which led to severe water scarcity in Chennai.

The Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services has said it was fully prepared to deal with any flood-related issues and announced phone numbers on which people can call authorities.

The department said in a release it has adequate manpower, equipment like inflatable rubber boats, long rescue ropes, other tools and vehicles to provide assistance and help rescue and evacuate those affected by floods.

There are 331 fire and rescue stations located in Tamil Nadu and in each district, 22 rescue commandoes are positioned with proper equipment, the release said.

“People can contact the Fire and Rescue services at 101 at all the district headquarters, including Greater Chennai corporation areas. For Greater Chennai Corporation, the landline numbers are 044-28554309, 28554311, 28554314,28554376”, the release said.

Rains lashed many parts of Tamil Nadu and neighbouring Puducherry on Sunday with the northeast monsoon triggering a heavy spell in the last 24 hours.

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