NEW DELHI, Dec 20: The Army and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have joined hands to undertake rescue operations in Tamil Nadu in the wake of unprecedented floods ravaging southern districts of the state where at least 20,000 people are still marooned in various regions.
The situation was further compounded by the discharge of over 1.2 lakh cusecs of water from the overflowing Tamarabarani River. Despite challenges posed by inundated roads, helicopters are being utilized to deliver relief materials to the affected areas, officials said.
“Srivaikuntam and the areas around it are the worst affected. But there is no danger to anyone’s life. Today we should be able to reach these areas with supplies. Air dropping of food and relief continue,” Tuticorin Collector G Lakshmipathy said.
Srivaikuntam is grappling with the aftermath of the floodwaters inundating large parts of the region. The Army and NDRF teams are trying to reach inaccessible pockets where stranded residents await evacuation. Air-dropping of food and relief supplies continues in a bid to provide essential aid to those cut off from ground access.
“Everything is a challenge whether it is bringing food, reaching out to people, or bringing them to safety. We have launched aerial dropping of food in areas where even boats aren’t able to go. A fire engine was washed away yesterday. Even the NDRF could not go,” Tuticorin MP MK Kanimozhi, who is reaching out to communities on the ground said.
The situation remains dire, as pockets in Tuticorin remained inaccessible despite the collaborative efforts of the rescue teams. The challenging conditions persisted even though it has not rained in Tuticorin for the past three days.
Chennai and its surrounding areas, still reeling from the devastation of Cyclone Michaung, have been pounded by torrential rain, the likes of which haven’t been seen in the past 47 years. This double whammy has caused widespread damage, forcing Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin to appeal to the Central government for immediate assistance.
The floods in Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi, Kanyakumari, and Tenkasi districts have prompted Mr Stalin to request the allocation of ₹ 2,000 crore from the National Disaster Relief Fund for immediate relief and infrastructure repair. This request highlights the need for urgent national support to address the ongoing crisis.
“While a comprehensive assessment of the permanent damage will take time, we request an interim assistance of ₹ 2,000 crore from the NDRF to bolster the ongoing efforts for livelihood support and repairs and restoration of the public infrastructure battered by the unprecedented floods,” Mr Stalin posted on X.
The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, who met the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, in his memorandum stressed the urgency of the situation and expressed gratitude for the PM’s attention to Tamil Nadu’s needs during these challenging times. The damage caused by the heavy rain in the southern districts, coupled with the recent cyclone, necessitates swift action and allocation of funds for repair and rehabilitation, the memorandum said.