Heavy rains battered southern districts of Tamil Nadu and state capital Chennai on Thursday night and early yesterday, forcing authorities to order the closure of schools and colleges.
Life in Kanyakumari was thrown out of gear due to heavy rain and strong winds. Over 1,000 affected people have been put up in camps, as per reports reaching here.
Nine persons have died in Tamil Nadu due to rains following the Ockhi cyclone in the last couple of days.
Chief Minister K Palaniswami has declared ex gratia to the bereaved families.
Teams of National Disaster Response Force and state DRF are involved in rescue and relief operations in Kanyakumari district.
According to officials, over 4,000 electricity poles have fallen, disrupting power supply to affected areas. Repair work is on to resume supply. Similarly, uprooted trees are being removed to help restore road traffic.
Several villages in Kanyakumari district are marooned. Steps are on to drain rainwater from Suchindram town in the district.
According to the meteorological department here, a strong depression in Andaman region will further intensify tomorrow and move towards south Tamil Nadu or north Andhra Pradesh coast over two-to-three days.
Meanwhile, in neighbouring Kerala the navy and coast guard rescued 33 fishermen from high seas, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said yesterday.
Vijayan, who held a high-level meeting, said there was no reason to panic as matters were under control. Meanwhile, angry groups of fishermen in the coastal villages in Poovar, Vizhinjam and Kovalam have threatened to block the highways if the rescue operations are not intensified.
Addressing reporters in Thiruvananthapuram, Vijayan said: “Seven ships and four helicopters have been deployed and the director general of shipping has also given directions to passing merchant ships to extend all help to fishermen in distress at sea. Two ships have rescued 10 fishermen,” said Vijayan.
The meteorological office has predicted rains will continue in Kerala today.
Kerala Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty said she has held a meeting with Vijayan. “It’s wrong to say fishermen are missing. The rescue teams have already saved 33, while 70 of them have started to respond to messages sent to them,” said Mercykutty.
Muthappan, a Thiruvananthapuram fisherman who was rescued from the sea, said he and four others were in a boat at around 2pm on Thursday, when the weather took a turn for the worse. “We were thrown out of the boat and while four of us held on to the boat which had overturned, another fisherman held on to a barrel. It was only after three hours that we were rescued by a boat,” he said.
A stranded fisherman rescued by naval and air force helicopters arrives at the Thiruvananthpuram airport yesterday.