Heavy rain kills nine in Tamil Nadu

March 22nd, 2008 - 7:47 pm ICT by admin  


Chennai, March 22 (IANS) Heavy rain lashed Tamil Nadu for the third consecutive day Saturday leaving 207 villages flooded and nine people dead, government officials said here. Unofficial sources put the toll at 15 and said thousands of acres of paddy and banana farms have been flooded.

The government said standing crops on 40,233 hectares have been damaged.

Chief Minster M. Karunanidhi chaired an emergency meeting of ministers and senior officials Saturday and announced a Rs.1 billion relief package for the affected districts.

Assembly sessions on March 24-25 have been put off so that ministers and legislators can visit their constituencies.

A compensation of Rs.100,000 has been announced for those killed.

The government has asked the central government for Rs.15 billion in aid.

Most parts of Chennai and suburban areas were under water Saturday. According to the Met Office the city received 69.8 mm of rain.

A low-pressure trough over Cape Comorin and Lakhswadeep Islands caused this unexpected rain in the southern parts of the country.

This is the first time in a decade that such a heavy downpour has been recorded here in the month of March. The small town of Tuticorin has been flooded for the first time in 16 years.

A 46-year-old farmer in Villupuram district died due to a thunderbolt and lightning seriously injured four men.

In Cuddalore district, Pratap, 16, died when struck by lightning. A 55-year-old man and a 41-year-old man died after they were struck by lightning. They were reportedly tampering with their television sets during the rains.

Since March 12, Puducherry and its suburbs received 21 cm of rainfall, official sources said. The resort town recorded 5.2 cm of rain in the last 24 hours.

The inclement weather and strong winds have affected fishing activities along the Tamil Nadu coast and the government has warned fishermen not to go into the sea.

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