The early onset of the north-east monsoon has taken a heavy toll even before it has intensified across Tamil Nadu, claiming 20 lives in two days, besides damaging huts and killing livestock.

The fatalities were mainly due to lightning and thunder and took place in two days of heavy rains that began on Friday.

Compensations

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, who chaired a high-level meeting, ordered immediate release of Rs. 2.50 lakh each to the families of those who were killed.

The meeting took stock of the situation and discussed relief measures.

Thirty-eight huts have been completely damaged while another 123 huts suffered partial damage.

The government will give Rs. 5,000 to each house that has been fully damaged and Rs. 2,500 each for partially damaged houses.

Moreover the family that has completely lost a hut will get 10 kg rice, a dhoti, a sari and one-litre kerosene.

Ms. Jayalalithaa said 112 heads of cattle died in the rain and the compensation for bullocks and cows was Rs. 20,000.

The compensation for death of goats will be Rs. 2,000 each and poultry Rs. 100 each.

The Chief Minister said she had directed officials well before the onset of the monsoon to put in place all measures to protect the people from any disaster.

Saturday’s meeting was attended by the Finance Minister, Electricity Minister, Social Welfare Minister, Chief Secretary, Revenue Secretary, Municipal Administration and Water Supplies Department secretary, Commissioner of Revenue Administration and other senior officials.

Ms. Jayalalithaa directed officials to periodically pump out water stagnating in subways.

Since the monsoon was likely to continue till the end of the year, she has asked ministers and higher officials to visit districts once a week and undertake relief measures.

“The district administrations have been geared up to offer relief measures on a war footing and the government machinery is ready to face any situation,” she said.