The coastal city of Thoothukudi in southern Tamil Nadu has been flooded after it received 26 cm of rainfall in eight hours. The district has received 60% more showers this season – 51cm against the usual 32cm. Water has also entered houses in the city’s Krishnarajapuram neighbourhood.
The famous Thiruchendur temple has been inundated as 30 cm of torrential rain battered the temple town. Trains have been cancelled after tracks were completely submerged in several areas.
Over 12 hours later, no help has arrived even as cars and people are forced to wade through the flooded streets.
Rani, a senior citizen, curled up on a cot inside her inundated home, is worried. “We can’t even cook. There’s no place to sleep. Water is everywhere. We are struggling. You should help us,” she told NDTV.
Health care workers have their hands full at the Government Medical College and Hospital in the flooded wards. Nurses were seen draining out the water with the approach road to the hospital completely underwater.
Standing in knee-deep waters, a man said, “Relatives coming to visit their patients are having to almost swim through. However, no action has been taken yet.”
Water, at the rate of 20,000 cubic feet per second, is being discharged into the perennial Thamirabarani River that flows through the Thoothukudi district.
Five people have died in rain-related incidents across the state in the last 24 hours. The weather department has issued a red alert for five districts and has forecast two more days of heavy downpour in the northern part of the state. Schools continue to remain shut in 22 districts. Nearly 10,000 people have been shifted to relief centres across the state.
Despite heavy rains, the state government says that they have managed to minimise loss with preparatory action.
“There have been very few breaches in water bodies. Massive desilting has been undertaken in rivers in the delta region. So even there, water is draining fast. All these show our tremendous preparedness and response,” Phanindra Reddy, Relief Commissioner for Tamil Nadu told NDTV.
The state has already received more than normal rains. Reservoirs in the state are full. But the government maintains that they are prepared. Tamil Nadu has already sought Rs 2,600 crore in central assistance and the losses keep mounting as the rains refuse to retreat.