THOOTHUKUDI: Highway cut off, houses and government offices inundated — it was Thoothukudi’s turn on Monday to wade in knee-deep water. People negotiating the Thoothukudi-Tirunelveli NH, taking the ‘median’ route, was the sight of the day. The NH was completely flooded and damaged. Hence transport service between the two cities was stopped. Buses from Tirunelveli ended their service at Murappanadu and there were no buses for Tirunelveli from Thoothukudi.
Anthoniyarpuram was the worst affected village, where over 300 houses were inundated. People had to stay indoors as water came in gushing. The plight of Anthoniyarpuram and Maravanmadam residents were aggravated by the release of water from various water bodies as the bunds were not strengthened to allow storage.
It all began late on Sunday when heavy rains pounded Kayathar, Kovilpatti, Kadambur and Kalugumalai, with an average rainfall of 25 mm.
Much to the dismay of the locals, the entire flood water followed a common path via Ottapidaram taluk to various water bodies.
As a result, Korampallam lake breached, inundating Maravanmadam and Anthoniyarpuram.
With the flood water threatening to maroon Thoothukudi, work at government offices also came to a stand still. The Collectorate campus housing some of the important offices, including District Police Office and Regional Transport Office, bore the brunt in a big way. The departments functioning at the Collectorate had to wind up office work and the regular Monday petition day programme had to be cancelled.
As water level continued to rise during the day, the Madurai-Thoothukudi National Highway also got flooded. A large number of people were seen watching the flood fury from an overbridge on the highway.
Water continued to run through P&T Colony, Kadirvel Nagar and Millerpuram and entered the houses in the residential areas.
Kaliappan, a resident of P&T Colony, claimed that water has entered several houses at P&T Colony and it has become difficult for the people to live there. Hence district administration should rescue them immediately and must take steps to drain the flood water immediately.
To ease the situation in Anthoniyarpuram, water was diverted to Korampllam pond and all its 21 shutters was opened to facilitate water flow to sea.
Meanwhile, residents of Anthoniyarpuram and Maravanmadam in Thoothukudi district has demanded the district administration to begin a full-fledged rescue operation. “More than 1,000 people at Anthoniyarpuram have taken refuge on top of their houses. The district administration have to rescue them immediately,” said Anthony, a local resident. The Indian Coast Guard personnel tried to transport people stranded at the Madha Church in Anthoniyarpuram with the help of two boats, but their efforts were hampered due to the strong water flow. Collector M Ravi Kumar, special officer to monitor flood, Kumar Jayanth, SP Ashwin Kotnis and other officials were directing the rescue team. Around 10 persons, who were in the Collectorate, were rescued using boats by Fire and Rescue personnel. Government officials and others too played an active role in the rescue measures. DCW Pvt Ltd, Sterlite Copper and several other companies provided help to the victims.
Meanwhile, the Chettikulam Pond near Sathankulam was full after nine years. The pond that irrigates 290 acres of land flows into Karumeni River.