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UPDATED: 14:00, December 18, 2005
Dead toll rises to 39 in south Indian stampede
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The death toll increased to 39 in a stampede accident Sunday morning in a flood relief center of Chennai, capital of south India's Tamil Nadu, NDTV reported.

The accident took place at the flood relief camp in a government high school in south Chennai at 4:30 am Sunday, when nearly 3,000 people gathering to collect relief materials started running for shelter in a heavy downpour.

But other reports also said that the accident was triggered by a rumor that Sunday would be the last day for the distribution of food coupons.

The rescue workers said over 15 were injured and sent to nearby hospitals.

Firemen and senior police officers rushed to the spot when the accident was reported. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha also visited the injured in hospital.

Tamil Nadu has suffered torrential rains and floods in the past month, evacuating around 175,000 people from their homes. The government has opened about 150 relief centers to distribute foods and other relief material.

In a similar accident on Nov. 6, six people were killed and 20 injured near a relief camp in North Chennai.

Source: Xinhua

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