At Least 6 Killed in Flash Floods in Tamil Nadu, India

At least 6 people died after being swept away by flash floods in Virudhunagar District of Tamil Nadu on Sunday 17 May 2015. Two more victims are still missing.

The flash flood hit the area of the Sathuragiri Hills, near Watrap, about 80 km south west of Madurai city.

Several thousand pilgrims had gathered in the area to worship at the Sundara Mahalingam Temple. Hundreds were trapped by the floods and, according to eye witnesses, at least 8 people were swept away. Emergency teams managed to rescue those stranded and have also retrieved bodies of 6 of the victims. Two people remain missing, but late last night rescue operations had been hampered by failing light and further rainfall.

The trek to the Sundara Mahalingam Temple is a notoriously difficult one, with a steep 7 km walk from Thannipaarai. The trek is often hampered by flash floods during the rainy season, according to local media.

Warnings had been issued and pilgrims told not to make the journey in the poor weather, according to NDTV who report that a senior police officer said, “the pilgrims had been advised by the district administration to not go to the hills following the rains, but they didn’t listen”.