While residents of Chennai and adjacent districts finally began to get some respite from incessant rains, the southern districts of Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli continue to see heavy rainfall, causing severe flooding. Kanyakumari district recorded of rainfall of 717 mm from October 1 to 8 am on Saturday, November 13. Of this, 90mm of rain happened until 8.30am on November 13 over a 24-hour period.
Samuel George, a social activist in Kanyakumari, said that the rains caused unexpected inundation in several areas. “Several regions in the district got flooded amid the rainfall after all the (water) channels and irrigation tanks filled up. Water from Perunchani Dam is adding to the flooding in the low lying areas. Vaikaloor region was already inundated, but the incessant rainfall had made the situation worse for residents," he said.
“Due to the heavy downpour, a landslide occurred at the Nagercoil-Thiruvananthapuram railway track. The excess water is flowing through the railway line, the tracks are barely visible,” added Samuel.
A few residents of Kanyakumari district told TNM that regions like Esanthimangalam, Suchindram, Appta Market, Therakalputhoor and adjoining areas have all been inundated.
“As it started raining heavily since Friday night, I moved to a relative’s place located in an elevated region. Fearing flooding, many of my neighbours too moved to other places or were evacuated to relief camps. One way or the other we had to move out of our houses because of flooding risk and prolonged power outages,”said Balaguru, a businessman and a resident of Suchindram.
“There is knee-deep water in my street. With heavy or moderate showers continuously pouring, the water-level in low lying areas is increasing. The water under Suchindram Dam is also filling up faster due to rain,” added Balaguru.
Speaking to TNM, Kanyakumari Collector M Arvind said, “Till 3 pm on Saturday, we evacuated 1,800 people and sheltered them in 39 relief camps with food, water and other necessities. With more rainfall predicted, we are currently working on evacuating as many people as possible from the banks of rivers and dams.”
“We are yet to take stock of flood damages, but roughly more than 100 houses have been partially damaged. One man died on Friday as he ventured near the dam to take a dip. Additionally, several livestock have been killed, but actual numbers will be known only after the rain stops,” added the Collector.
According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), under the influence of the cyclonic circulation over Thailand and adjoining south Andaman Sea, a low pressure area formed on Saturday morning, November 13.
The pressure formed is likely to move west-northwestwards and concentrate into a depression over north Andaman Sea and adjoining Southeast Bay of Bengal by November 15. This is likely to intensify further and reach near Andhra Pradesh coast during the subsequent 48 hours, said IMD.
IMD predicting heavy rainfall in the two districts stated to the media on Saturday that Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli districts are likely to receive heavy rainfall at isolated places in these districts on November 13 and 14. Meanwhile, over the weekends, IMD also predicted rainfall in delta districts, Pudukottai, Salem, Tenkasi, Theni, Dindigul and Nilgiris districts.
With more rainfall expected, the Kanyakumari district administration has deployed local police and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) into action.
Anticipating the situation to get worse, two SDRF teams from Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi reached Kanyakumari on Saturday. The Collector also said that 80 more SDRF personnel have been called in from Thanjavur and Thiruvarur for rescue and evacuation.
It is important to note that the district in May this year amid the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic sustained heavy downpour. Due to the rainfall in May, besides low lying areas witnessing serious inundation, over 650 hectares of horticulture and agriculture farms were flooded.