In a major rain-related incident in Tamil Nadu, at least 17 people, including ten women and two children, were killed in their sleep when a wall collapsed on a row of houses in a village near Coimbatore on Monday, police said.
A portion of the 15-foot tall private compound wall, totally wet due to heavy rains lashing the area for the past few days, fell on the adjoining tiled-roof houses in Nadur village, over 50 kms from here, around 5 am, burying alive the inmates.
Villagers said the wall built abutting the houses had been an issue.
The Fire and Rescue services personnel with the assistance of locals and police retrieved the bodies from the debris and the operations were continuing, police said.
In Chennai, Chief Minister K Palaniswami condoled the deaths in the wall collapse and announced a relief of Rs 4 lakh each to their families from the State Disaster Relief Fund.
Coimbatore District Collector K Rajamani and Superintendent of Police Sujit Kumar visited the spot.
The Collector told reporters that the villagers informed him about the issue over the construction of the compound wall. If found illegal, the wall would be demolished, he said.
The district administration will review suggestions by the villagers to prevent such incidents in future and will send a detailed report to the state government for follow up action, including providing relief measures, Rajamani said.
He also said facilities at the Mettupalayam government hospital would be upgraded to ensure locals did not need to travel to the district headquarters here.
Several parts of the state have been lashed by incessant North East monsoon rains for the past few days.