M A I N   N E W S

Rain cripples Chennai
Deep depression threatens Tamil Nadu, Andhra

Chennai, October 27
Unprecedented rain lashed Chennai today bringing life to a standstill. The state government sought Army’s help to cope with the situation even as a deep depression threatened to pound the state, coastal Andhra Pradesh and Orissa.

However, Bangaloreans had a respite as the downpour weakened into a drizzle today. But the Karnataka Government took no chance and extended the holiday to schools and colleges in the city and surrounding areas, which were closed on October 26 following rain, by two more days from tomorrow.

Several areas of Chennai were inundated forcing most of the residents to remain indoors. Their woes were aggravated as power supply had to be shut off to avoid electrocution.

Over 50,000 persons in the low-lying areas in North Chennai were evacuated and provided shelter in schools. All educational institutions in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts remained closed today because of the rain. The government announced closure of schools and colleges tomorrow also.

The public transport ground to a halt with the gusty winds felling trees on the streets across the city.

Though there was no casualty due to rain in the city, the number of deaths due to heavy rain since the onset of monsoon on October 12 had gone up to 60, with four more deaths reported last night, said Mr R. Santhanam, State Relief Commissioner. The relief work was in full swing, he added.

With rail tracks flooded, train services from Chennai Central have been cancelled till noon tomorrow. Long distance trains from Egmore terminus were operated with some delay. There was also disruption in suburban services in the Beach-Tambaram section.

Though some international flights were diverted, domestic air services were maintained with some delay in arrivals and departures.

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, who visited some flood-hit areas, said the Army’s help had been sought for draining the water and undertaking relief operations.

Even as Chennai and Bangalore coped with the rain, the depression in the Bay of Bengal turned into a “deep depression” and moved closer to Tamil Nadu capital and coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa as the Meteorological Office forecast heavy rain and squally winds over north coastal Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry over 36 hours.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the deep depression was likely to cross between Chennai and Ongole in Andhra Pradesh tomorrow morning. Fishermen in coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Orissa have been advised not to venture out into the sea.

The caution signal number three had been hoisted at the ports of Chennai, Ennore, Cuddalore, Nagapattinam and Pondicherry in view of the rough sea, it added.

A Hyderabad report said the depression would result in heavy rains in Machilipatnam, Nellore, Prakasam, Guntur and Krishna districts of coastal Andhra as also in Cuddapah and Chittoor districts of Rayalaseema region in the next two days.

A Bhubeneswar report said the Orissa Government had alerted the administration in all coastal districts. — PTI

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