Tamil filmmaker Mari Selvaraj has sought help for people living in Thoothukudi and Tirunelveli districts of Tamil Nadu that were severely affected due to the heavy rains over the past few days. Speaking to Puthiyathalaimurai on December 19, the maker of movies like Pariyerum Perumal, Karnan and Maamannan, who hailed from Tirunelveli, said, “This was a disaster that nobody expected. These are agricultural lands near water bodies. Some of the villages that are affected have been cut off. Because of this, it is a big challenge to go inside and rescue them. The people are sitting on buildings and trees, so finding them and then taking the boats to rescue them is difficult. We have been carrying out rescues as much as we can through the night.”
The director also visited villages in Thoothukudi and Tirunelveli that were affected by the heavy rains along with Tamil Nadu’s Youth Welfare and Sports Development Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin.
Mari Selvaraj pointed out how there are several villages that are completely cut off and there is no way of accessing them through boats. He said, “There are places that even boats could not go. There are 15-20 villages that have been completely cut off. They are living without food and have no means of communication as well. We would get some messages from them occasionally and that’s how we know that they are okay.”
Saying that he had spoken to the government about the state of the villages inaccessible by boats, Mari Selvaraj said, “We have spoken to the government. Udhay sir had come and we spoke to him as well. We spoke to Kanimozhi, Thoothukudi’s MP as well. They told us that they have asked for helicopters to carry out rescue operations. When we spoke this morning, they said that arrangements are being made for this. Because only that is possible now. Since the current in the river is fast, it's difficult to use boats. Only with the helicopters’ help will we be able to rescue the people stuck inside. We believe that they are safe because they know how to save themselves from the water but we don’t know for how long.”
Udhayanidhi Stalin posted pictures from a village in Thoothukudi district, which he visited with government officials and local residents like Mari Selvaraj.
Meanwhile, BJP state president Annamalai and several All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) leaders questioned why the movie maker was accompanying the minister.