Floods, landslides, damaged roads and sheets of rain. The Queen of South India, Nilgiris, has been brought to its knees by the incessant rainfall that has been lashing the district for the last three days. The rains in Nilgiris has left four women dead in various parts of the district.
Four women died in two separate rain-induced incidents in Nilgiris district on Thursday. Vimala and Sushila, both 47 years old and working in government fields in Nanjanad village were killed when they were returning home.
According to the Ooty Rural police, the two women were swept away in the floods. “The women were walking back with eight others when they were washed away in the floods. From the top of the hill, the water came with great speed onto the road and swept them away," says an investigating officer.
"We couldn't find their bodies all night. We finally found them this morning. They are both from farmer families. The women all knew that water would flow through that area. But they didn't expect it to come with such force," he adds.
This perhaps paints a picture of how unexpected and brutal this year’s rains have been to the people of Nilgiris.
A mother and daughter were also killed in Ooty on Thursday night as the wall of their house collapsed on them while they were sleeping. Amudha (37) was sleeping with her daughter Kavya (12) and son Lokesh (12) in their house in Indra Nagar in Ooty. Her house which was built with bricks and had a thatched roof caved in on the family, killing Amudha and Kavya on Thursday night. While Kavya was removed from the debris by fire rescue personnel at 8am on Friday, it took until 11am to find Amudha. Lokesh was injured but is now out of danger, the police officer adds.
Avalanche, around 20 kilometres from Ooty, carved out a name for itself in history books as it recorded 911 millimetres of rain over a 24-hour period that ended on Friday morning. The rains have caused massive waterlogging, landslips and have uprooted trees in the area.
Many people who live in low-lying areas have been moved to government-run relief camps in Emerald area, around six kilometres from Avalanche, while the district authorities are trying to restore some normalcy in the region.
Speaking to TNM about the situation in Avalanche, a police officer in Emerald said that the situation is slowly getting better in Avalanche. “Roads have been cleared for traffic and vehicular movement is normal here. Personnel from State and National Disaster Response Force are on the ground and eight JCBs have been pressed into service to clear out rubble,” he said, adding that power supply is yet to be restored in the region.
Gudalur, around 50 kilometres from Ooty, is an important route connecting Karnataka and Kerala. The heavy rains recorded in Gudalur has caused landslips on the roads and had brought vehicular movement to a grinding halt.
32-year-old Krithika, a resident of Gudalur, says that several areas in the locality are completely waterlogged.
"The town as such is alright so far. But as you go into interior Gudalur, water has entered several houses. The Ooty-Gudalur road and Pykara have seen landslides. It is difficult to commute," she says.
However, a police officer in Gudalur police station says that though the roads remain closed for heavy vehicles, cars and bikes are moving normally on the roads. “The situation remains risky since there are chances of boulders and mud falling on to the road from the slopes. There are ten places in and around Gudalur town where damages have been identified on roads. These are being attended to,” the officer said.
Though places like Avalanche and Gudalur have been limping back to normalcy, the situation in Ooty is reportedly better on Friday.
Mukesh, a resident of Ooty tells TNM that the rain at present in Ooty is similar to what the town gets on normal days. Adding that though it has been more than 42 hours since power supply has been cut in the regions, he says that vehicular movement within the town seems normal. “Local buses are plying in their regular route. Government buses are plying normally in both the roads which connects to the hill town from the plains, (ie) Mettupalayam- Ooty and Mysore-Ooty,” he adds.
50-year-old H Gopal, an employee of LIC also told TNM that roads are waterlogged yet navigable as far as Ooty town is concerned. “Most people are staying at home. On Charring Cross Road, water has entered several shops that are low lying. But as of now it is manageable, I rode my bike to office today," he adds.