Tamil Nadu finally had got respite on Saturday from heavy rains that wrecked havoc in the last four days, claiming 128 lives and leaving a trail of destruction.
With 128 people killed in the last two days alone after two buses were washed away by flash floods on Friday, the toll in rain-related incidents since November one has risen to 249, official sources said.
Normal life was paralysed as most of the southern districts were virtually under a sheet of water and standing crops in the entire Cauvery delta area had been submerged.
Several lakes and tanks were overflowing. Lakhs of families had been rendered homeless with their huts under water.
In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa sought Rs 3000 crore to undertake relief works. Earlier, after a visit to the worst-hit Cuddalore district, she said she would seek more funds from the Centre. A week ago, the state government had sought Rs 1752 crore.
The let-up in the rains helped the authorities undertake relief work on a war-footing.
Armed forces have pitched in to help the civil administration and evacuated over five lakh marooned people in affected districts like Cuddalore and Tiruchirapalli, besides air dropping food packets.
Civil authorities used huge cranes to lift the two buses, which were washed away by flash floods in Ramanathapuram and
Thanjavur districts on Friday, leading to the death of 80 people, whose bodies have been recovered, police said.
Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil would be making an aerial survey of the flood-affected areas from Madurai on Sunday, while the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief M Karunanidhi would be visiting some areas in the Cuddalore district.
Rail services to the southern districts from Chennai remained cancelled for the fourth consecutive day on Saturday due to breaches in the track caused by flash floods.
The authorities are working overtime to restore rail and road traffic between the state capital and the southern districts.
Union Minister of State for Railways R Velu inspected work on repairing about 200 metres of railway track at Tiruchirappalli, which was washed away at Pullambadi following heavy rain.
Chennai city, which had some respite from the rains on Friday, witnessed a few heavy spells both Friday night and
Saturday causing water stagnation and traffic snarls at several places.
Interior villages in Cuddalore, Tiruchirapalli and Perambalur districts remained inaccessible with flood waters surrounding them.
Coast Guard men rescued the marooned people from these villages in boats. They also used huge pumps to drain out flood waters in many places.
Tiruchirapalli town and the neighbouring Temple town of Srirangam is under knee-deep water following floods in Kollidam river, caused by the heavy discharge in Cauvery and Amarvathi rivers.
Almost all the dams and lakes in the state are filled to the brim. The Veeranam and R S Mangalam lakes are in spate after a long time.