Southern Tamil Nadu goes under water

Floodwaters force evacuations, with over 7,500 people in 84 relief camps; rescue efforts are underway

3-day rainfall forecast from Monday (18 December) to Thursday (21 December) morning (screengrab from
3-day rainfall forecast from Monday (18 December) to Thursday (21 December) morning (screengrab from


Villages, towns, roads and highways in several regions of southern Tamil Nadu including Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi just resemble rivers in spate.

As flood water gushed out, onto the residential neighbourhoods and roads, houses were inundated and people were marooned.

At Seevalaperi in Tirunelveli, residents huddled on the terrace of a few two-storied houses. Similar was the scene at Meenakshipuram in Tirunelveli. Over 100 houses at Nesavalar Colony in Nagercoil were inundated and they were evacuated by the authorities and sent to relief centres. Several residents said they have never seen such extremely heavy rainfall and flooding.

Using ropes, local people and Fire and Rescue Service and disaster response teams helped those stranded amid flooded streams reach safe locations. At Krishnaberi in Tirunelveli, local people mobilised resources to rescue the stranded residents.

The huge volume of water flowing in waterfalls including Courtallam and Agasthiyar looked like multiple cloudbursts happening continuously.

Due to soil erosion, the ballast over which railway tracks were fixed firmly was washed away in Srivaikundam and iron tracks with only supporting cement slabs dangling precariously.

The water level rose above four feet in several locations of Thoothukudi and Tirunelveli and the bus termini in both the southern cities appeared like large swimming pools. Similar was the scenario in other places including Kovilpatti. Vehicles parked near the bus terminus areas went under water. Though there was a respite from rains in some areas, release of surplus water from dams continued, also contributing to water-logging.

In a residential colony near Rajapalayam, an elderly woman was feared dead in a rain-related incident. Rivers including the Thamirabarani are in spate.

Access to villages such as Oothu were cut off as roads overflowed with flood water. Roads including the Kovilpatti-Kayatharu-Thevarkulam road were flooded. Lake bunds breached in a string of areas including Iravipudur in Kanyakumari adding to the flood woes.

Operation of buses and other modes of public transportation was severely affected. Milk supply was also hit and local authorities made arrangements to provide milk to people in such areas.

Local authorities in southern districts including civic officials in Tirunelveli have taken steps to provide food and water to people in heavy flooded localities and have deployed backhoe loaders for the purpose.

The extremely heavy rainfall and flooding in southern Tamil Nadu has dwarfed the recent showers and inundation witnessed in state capital Chennai

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Published: 18 Dec 2023, 3:16 PM