Madurai

Stranded devotees rescued as heavy downpour triggers flash floods

Collector V. Vishnu and Superintendent of Police N. Manivannan monitoring the rescue operation at Vattakulam near Thirukurunkudi in Tirunelveli district on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: A. Shaikmohideen

Around 650 devotees, who had gone to the Nambi Temple near Thirukurunkudi to offer special prayers on Saturday got stranded at the shrine on Saturday following a sudden downpour along the Western Ghats that triggered a flood.

The devotees had gone to the temple in the Western Ghats to offer special prayers on the occasion of ‘Purattaasi’ last Saturday. They were stranded at the shrine as the rocky road leading to the temple and the road between Thirukurunkudi and the forest check-post were cut off due to the sudden downpour.

“We were held-up at the temple due to the sudden rain. The low-lying bridge at Vattakulam near Thirukurunkudi was submerged by the flood around 10.45 a.m. forcing the police to use jeeps to ensure a safe crossing on the inundated bridge,” said Rukmani, one of the stranded devotees.

When the officials were informed about the devotees stranded in the temple in the inaccessible hilly region, Collector V. Vishnu, Superintendent of Police N. Manivannan and Sub-Collector, Cheranmahadevi, Siva Krishnamurthy rushed to Thirukurunkudi along with more policemen and Fire and Rescue Services personnel, who tied ropes across the bridge to ensure save evacuation.

When asked, forest personnel said they initially advised the devotees not to go to Nambi Temple as the entire Western Ghat was experiencing heavy rainfall, which usually resulted in the submerging of the Vattakulam low-lying bridge.

“After the devotees contacted various persons including office-bearers of Hindu outfits over the phone to tell that they were not being allowed to offer ‘Purattaasi’ last Saturday prayers, we were under immense pressure and we allowed the devotees to the temple,” said a senior forest official.

Areas close to the Western Ghats of Tenkasi district also experienced good rainfall on Saturday. The already deserted Courtallam waterfalls witnessed heavy water flow following overnight rains in the hilly region. Following incessant drizzle since morning, the 30-minute-long downpour that started at 10 a.m. inundated the roads and the fields. After a brief interval of 30 minutes, another round of heavy downpour made the situation more difficult for the public.

“After intermittent drizzle for the past few days, the downpour we experienced on Saturday will badly affect vegetable farming in Tenkasi district. Since harvest of onion was going on in some areas, the standing crop, which is ready for harvest cannot be reaped due to the unexpected rains. Similar conditions prevail in farms where other vegetables have been cultivated,” said K. Arunachalam, a farmer from Paavoorchathram.

Rain also battered various parts of Kanniyakumari district on Saturday with Nagercoil recording 63 mm rainfall even as other parts of the district also experienced decent rainfall ranging from 10 mm at Colachel to 50 mm at Kottaaram. Catchment areas of Petchipaarai, Perunchaani and other dams also recorded significant rainfall.

Following heavy downpour, the country boat fishermen did not venture into the sea for fishing on Saturday.


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Printable version | Dec 4, 2021 11:18:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/stranded-devotees-rescued-as-heavy-downpour-triggers-flash-floods/article37023517.ece

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