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November 10, 2009

Tourists told not to travel to rain-hit Tamil Nadu; 42 dead

     Chennai: A major landslide, triggered by seasonal torrential rain, has killed at least 42 people in Tamil Nadu's Nilgiri district. "In this heavy rain and flash flood nine people got trapped in the debris and five people of one family died due to this landslide. We have not witnessed such heavy rain so far and this is first time such landslide took place," said Pradeep, a local resident. According to official sources, about 14 bodies were recovered from debris on Monday and the rest were found on Tuesday. Injured people have been hospitalised. "Due to heavy rain for the past two days, we are engaged in the rescue operation in Keti village. In this flash flood, over five people had been washed away in this Keti area alone and we have rescued two people whereas the search and rescue operation is on in other areas of Nilgiri district as well," said Subramaniam, a fire officer. The death toll might rise further as the rescue operation is still going on. Transportation in the state has also been affected severely due to landslides. Tourists have been advised not to travel to Ooty, a famous tourist destination. The heavy rains continued in Tamil Nadu for the sixth day consistently, with the regional meteorological department predicting that the heavy rains will not stop even for the next 24 hours. The low-pressure formed in Arabian Sea has intensified, thus leading to more rainfall in the next 24 hours. "Yesterday's deep depression over Arabian sea moved northwards and intensified into deep depression and less tread over west of Mangalore. This system may intensify further and move towards north-east direction and may cross Konkan and the south Gujarat coast by the 12th morning," said K Kulandaivelu, Director of Regional Meteorological Centre, Chennai. Several low-lying parts of Tamil Nadu have drowned in water owing to continuous rainfall since Wednesday. Keti in Nilagiri district in Tamil Nadu has recorded a maximum of 82 cm rainfall. According to Kulandaivelu, the monsoon over Tamil Nadu may be widespread and chances are that some places might face heavy rainfall. He also warned that Chennai might face one or two spells of thunder showers in the coming 24 hours. Waterlogging on roads in Chennai has led to disruption in vehicular movement, causing great inconvenience to commuters. "For the four last days heavy rain is pouring, roads are blocked with water and the traffic is heavy, our essential work is disrupted," said Mathuraj, a local resident.
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