Torrential rains lashing Tamil Nadu claimed at least 15 lives in a chain of wall collapses in a village near Mettupalayam abutting the Western Ghats in Coimbatore district early on Monday, officials said.
According to police, the four wall collapses at Nadur Colony early on Monday were triggered by the heavy downpour. Five other people have also been killed in the torrential rain over the past two days.
A team of fire and rescue services and revenue officials reached the spot at around 5am and recovered the bodies of all the 15 victims, including four women and a child.
Watch l Tamil Nadu rain fury: 15 killed after compound wall collapses in Coimbatore
The rescue team said more people could be trapped in the debris and that the toll might increase. The operation to rescue people is on and the bodies have been sent for post mortem, police said.
The weather department has sounded a red alert for the state’s six districts, including Chennai, saying these regions would receive heavy rainfall in the next 24 hours.
The district administrations in Chennai, Chengalpattu, Tiruvallur, Cuddalore, Ramanathapuram, Nilgiris, Thoothukudi and Kancheepuram have declared holidays for all educational institutions as a precautionary measure.
The Madras University, Anna University and Annamalai University in Chidambaram have announced that examinations, scheduled to commence on Monday, have been deferred.
The Tamil Nadu Electricity Board has also cancelled the physical fitness test for hiring gangmen as well as scrutiny of certificates of the candidates. Fresh dates would be announced later.
The Regional Meteorological Department had advised fishermen along the coastal belt not to venture into the sea till further notification.
Reservoirs and tanks across the state have reached their maximum level and rivers, especially in southern and western Tamil Nadu are flooding, officials of the public works department said. Residents downstream have been asked to move to safety.
The Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services has said it was fully prepared to deal with any flood-related issues and announced phone numbers on which people can call authorities.
“People can contact the Fire and Rescue services at 101 at all the district headquarters, including Greater Chennai corporation areas. For Greater Chennai Corporation, the landline numbers are 044-28554309, 28554311, 28554314,28554376,” the release said.
The department said in a release it has adequate manpower, equipment like inflatable rubber boats, long rescue ropes, other tools and vehicles to provide assistance and help rescue and evacuate those affected by floods.
There are 331 fire and rescue stations in Tamil Nadu and in each district, 22 rescue commandoes are positioned with proper equipment, the release said.
Rains lashed many parts of Tamil Nadu and neighbouring Puducherry on Sunday with the northeast monsoon triggering a heavy spell in the last 24 hours.