D. Radhakrishnan and T. Ramakrishnan

70-member team from National Disaster Response Force coming

Ministers, officials visit the affected areas

Rain claims 70 lives in State since October 1

UDHAGAMANDALAM/CHENNAI: `The bodies of 29 persons killed in rain and landslips across the Nilgiris district were retrieved on Tuesday, taking the total number of deaths in the district to 43.

Moved to safety

People living in areas vulnerable to landslips and floods have been moved to safe places.

A 70-member team from the National Disaster Response Force based in Arakonam was on Tuesday on its way to Udhagamandalam.

Even as a marginal improvement in the weather brought some relief from the torrential rain which had lashed many parts of the Nilgiris for the past few days, the trail of destruction it left behind plunged the entire district into gloom.

Overall toll

The overall figure of persons who died on account of rain in the whole State was 72. Tirunelveli and Villupuram districts recorded the death of six persons each. The figure took into account those who died since October 1, a senior official of the Revenue Department said.

As directed by Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, Ministers Veerapandi S. Arumugam and Pongalur N. Palanisamy, Commissioner of Revenue Administration and Principal Secretary N. Sundaradevan, Director-General of Fire and Rescue Services R. Nataraj and Additional Director-General of Police (Law and Order) K. Radhakrishnan reached the Nilgiris.

District Collector Anand Rao V. Patil told The Hindu that the Ministers were visiting the affected areas.

Unprecedented tragedy

Mr. Patil said on the phone that in a massive landslip near Ketti, a house was washed away, killing seven persons belonging to the family of Louis (55), a driver in the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation. Two children also died. In a house collapse at Kodappamund, Rajeshwari (28) and her three-and-a-half-year-old son and six-month-old daughter were killed. At Nanjappan Chathiram in Coonoor, Nagarani (22) and her children were killed when their house was brought down by heavy rain.

On the Grand Duff road near Lovedale, Anthonyamma (55), her son Nirmal (27) and her daughter Sangeetha (20) were killed in a landslip. At a number of places, many people had made their escape miraculously.

Damage to roads

Referring to major damage caused to the Ooty-Coonoor-Mettupalayam national highway and the Ooty-Kotagiri road, the Collector said efforts were on to repair them as early as possible.

An official release issued in Chennai said the Nilgiris Collector was directed to pay Rs.1 lakh each to the families of the dead.

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