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7 Dead As Burevi Weakens Into Depression But Batters Southern Tamil Nadu

Cyclone Burevi has remained stationary off the coast for 30 hours
Chennai: 

Seven people have died as heavy rains caused by Cyclone Burevi batter parts of Tamil Nadu for a second straight day, even as hundreds of villages remain inundated.

In Cuddalore district around 300 villages have been flooded, while large parts of Rameswaram in Ramanathapuram district are without electricity.

Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami has announced Rs 10 lakh relief for the families of those died, as well as compensation for loss of homes and cattle. The state said it would pay Rs 30,000 for loss of each cow, Rs 16,000 per calf and Rs 3,000 per goat.

Relief and restoration work is being carried out on "war footing" and ministers have been deployed to personally oversee rehabilitation in affected districts, the Chief Minister said Saturday.

Although Burevi - expected to hit the southern parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala on Friday as a cyclonic storm with extremely heavy rain and winds nearing 100 km per hour - has weakened into a well marked low pressure that has remained stationary in the Gulf of Mannar region for over 30 hours now.

Nevertheless, coastal and southern Tamil Nadu continue to receive heavy rainfall.

As many as 66,000 people have been shifted to relief camps in Cuddalore district alone, with another 5,000 evacuated in Ramanathapuram. Rameswaram is without power supply.

"We served breakfast to 66,000 people. Continuing rain is a problem. We hope the rains stop today. We are keeping a close watch on Veeranam Lake (in case of flooding)," Gagandeep Singh Bedi, a senior government bureaucrat in charge of Cuddalore told NDTV.

Across the state 75 huts have been completely destroyed. A further 1,725 have been partially damaged. Similarly, eight tiled houses have been destroyed and 410 damaged.

66 trees have been uprooted and 27 electric poles destroyed. 196 head of cattle were killed, while an as yet unknown number of other livestock were also washed away or died.

NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) teams are on the ground helping in relief work.

The weather department has forecast more heavy to very heavy rainfall for Tamil Nadu and Puducherry over the next 48 hours as the depression weakens further - becoming a "well-marked low pressure area" - and drifts towards southern Kerala.

As of this morning the depression was around 40 km southwest of Ramanathapuram and had wind speeds of around 50 km per hour.

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