As rescue operations wind up, death toll stands at 35, crops on 1.83 lakh hectare affected

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At least 35 persons have died in the unprecedented floods in four southern districts of Tamil Nadu, while a total of 49,707 people have been rescued from the affected areas in Thoothukudi, Tirunelveli, Tenkasi and Kanniyakumari districts. Crops on over 1.83 lakh hectares have been affected, according to official information released on Friday.

As on Friday evening, it was estimated that over 3,700 huts had been damaged. The final figures will be out once the enumeration is complete.

While 170 pucca houses were destroyed, the floods also claimed lives of 318 head of cattle, 2,587 goats and over 41,500 chicken.

On Friday evening, Chief Secretary Shiv Das Meena announced the completion of the rescue operations carried out by Central and State government agencies in all the affected regions.

Home Secretary P. Amudha and Director-General of Police (DGP) Shankar Jiwal had accompanied Mr. Meena.

Over 3,400 personnel from the Army, the Navy, the Coast Guard, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State government agencies, such as the police and the State Disaster Response Force, were involved in the operations.

“Though 43 places remained inaccessible as on Thursday morning, we reached them by the end of the day, and the operations involving 323 boats helped to rescue over 49,700 people,” he said.

Of those rescued, 17,161 people had been housed in 67 relief camps, he said. Community kitchens had been set up and are supplying cooked food to over 75,000 people every day, he said, adding that five lakh food packets had been distributed so far.

The State government’s main focus was on resumption of services in all the affected areas by mobilising resources from neighbouring districts, like how food packets prepared in the districts of Dindigul, Madurai, Ramanathapuram and Tiruchi were moved to flood-affected Thoothukudi, Mr. Meena said.

While 240 lorries with 1,200 metric tonnes of food were moved to Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi districts, 81 metric tonnes of food was airdropped through helicopters, he said.

Normal supply of milk has resumed in Kanniyakumari, Tenkasi and Tirunelveli districts, while in Thoothukudi, supply in 80% of the areas have become normal. Milk powder has been supplied in some areas.

While drinking water supply has resumed in many areas, work was under way in the remaining areas, the Chief Secretary said.

While 160 of the 984 ration shops in Thoothukudi district were affected by the flood, supply has resumed in 92.

Of the 796 ration shops in Tirunelveli district, operations have resumed in 770, he said, hoping that the remaining would soon follow suit. All ration shops in Kanniyakumari and Tenkasi have become functional, he added.

While vehicular traffic has resumed in 136 of the 173 damaged roads, work was under way in the others. Of 152 roads that were submerged in water, vehicular traffic has resumed in 117.

More than 5,000 workers of government departments, such as Highways, Rural Development, Municipal Administration and Water Supply and Water Resources, from other districts were involved in the repairs on a war footing in the affected districts, Mr. Meena said.

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