Rain death toll mounts to 15; Rs 100 cr for relief works

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Chennai, Mar 22 (UNI) The incessant rains in Tamil Nadu over the last two days have left a trail of destruction, claiming 15 lives and damaging standing crops in thousands of hectares, even as Chief Minister M Karunanidhi announced an immediate allocation of Rs 100 crore to undertake relief works in the flood-affected areas.

Reports received at the police headquarters here today said Nagapattinam and Virudhunagar districts reported a maximum of three deaths each, while Thanjavur, Villuppuram and Tuticorin reported two deaths each. One death each was reported from Tirunelveli, Pudukkottai and Tiruchirapalli districts.

A majority of deaths were caused by wall collapses and electrocution.

The city, which received a record rainfall of 69.3 mm during the last 24 hours, ending at 0830 hrs this morning (the highest in the last ten years), got a respite as rains abated and normal life limped back to normalcy.

Meanwhile, Mr Karunanidhi chaired a high-level meeting at the State Secretariat to review the flood situation and announced an immediate allocation of Rs 100 crore for relief works.

The low pressure area over Lakshadweep and Maldives intensified into a well-marked low pressure and was moving in a Northerly direction towards Arabian sea off Kerala coast.

Under its influence, rain or thundershowers in several places, with heavy to very heavy spells in a couple of places, were likely in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry during the next 24 hours.

Mr Karunanidhi deputed his Cabinet colleagues and appealed to the MPs and MLAs to visit the flood-hit areas and undertake relief measures on a war footing.

Apart from announcing Rs one lakh to the next of kin of the deceased, he sanctioned an assistance of Rs 10,000 each for cattle loss and Rs 1,000 each for death of goats.

Expressing concern over loss of standing crops in several districts due to rains, the Chief Minister announced Rs 4,000 as assistance per hectare for the damaged crops and said the Government was receiving reports from the districts on the extent of damage caused to the crops.

Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker R Avudaiyappan said the present Assembly session had been postponed by two days to enable Ministers and MLAs to visit the flood ravaged areas. There would not be any sitting on March 24 and 25, he added.

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