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01 Apr 2020, Edition - 1723, Wednesday

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Coimbatore

Four other houses washed away on the day a wall claimed 17 lives in Mettupalayam

Neya Tabitha

The cloudburst in Mettupalayam, that caused the alleged discriminatory wall to collapse, claiming 17 lives was not the only damage of nature’s fury last week. Four other houses were washed away, rendering the families homeless in Pallathumedu, Kurumbanur road, Dasampalayam.

The houses, made of asbestos sheets were not strong enough to sustain the fury of the flash flood. The houses belonged to two senior couples and two other families with two children each. The current also washed away the cattle and a two wheeler, although it was retrieved later that day. However, the cows did not survive.

The flash flood occurred when nearby drainage canal overflowed damaging water pipes, said Dr. Jaikumar M, Company Commander at the Coimbatore District Home Guards. He also described the current to be almost six feet. It was around 4:00 am, when Muthu R, a resident, found that water had penetrated into his house. He immediately went to warn the others to vacate their houses. Had he not woken up, the Nadur incident would have repeated, he said.

“If the flood had occurred earlier in the day, none would have survived and this incident would have garnered as much attention as the wall incident” he said. The volunteers of the Namma Mettupalayam whatsApp group lent a helping hand to the inhabitants to vacate and educate them of the dangers if they continued to stay there. They also provided blankets to the aged couples and bags and books to the children who lost their possessions to the flood.

The people living here are daily wage workers living on the poromboke land for almost twenty years and this was the first time such disaster had happened, so they did not know what to do, said Dr. Jaikumar, who is also one of the volunteers at the Namma Mettupalayam.

Abdul Raheem I, owner of Arokia Gym, also a volunteer, stated that the people will now continue to live with uncertainty and fear whenever it rains, the government should provide a safe place for such people as they have nowhere else to go

The Namma Mettupalayam team and the Delta squad lead by Lieutenant Esan had been alternating their services from the Nadur incident and Pallathumedu incident offering their services and giving relief to the families.The incessant Northeast Monsoon rains that had been pouring from 30.11.2019 to 01.12.2019 had caused a ripple of disasters in the Mettupalayam region in Coimbatore causing up to 180 mm of rain that night.

Not only that, landslides in twelve locations and road blocks had taken place in the Coonoor-Mettupalayam Highway due to the heavy downpour that day.

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