Trees uprooted, houses damaged as cyclone ‘Gaja’ makes landfall in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry

Nagapattinam/Chennai: Rain lashed coastal regions of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry as the severe cyclonic storm ‘Gaja’ crossed the state’s coast between Nagapattinam and nearby Vedaranniyam early on Friday with wind speed gusting up to 120 kmph. As the cyclone’s landfall began, coastal towns including Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Thondi and Pamban in Tamil Nadu and Karaikkal and Puducherry received rainfall ranging between 3 cm and 8 cm.

Cuddalore received 8 cm, Nagapattinam 5 cm and neighbouring Puducherry and Karaikkal 5 cm each up to 5.30 am Friday, according to a MeT official in Chennai. Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority said those in the relief centres went up to 81,948 in 471 relief centres at , Nagapattinam, Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur, Pudukottai and Tiruvarur from 76,290 people who were evacuated from low lying areas.

According to Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority, as many as 81,948 people were evacuated from low lying areas and sheltered in 471 relief centres in six districts Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Pudukottai, Thanjavur, Ramanathapuram and Tiruvarur.

A holiday has been declared for educational institutions in Nagapattinam district. An India Meteorological Department (IMD) bulletin said, “severe cyclonic storm ‘Gaja’ crossed Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coast between Nagapattinam and Vedaranniyam …with wind speed of 100-110 kmph gusting up to 120 kmph, early Friday.” Though the center of cyclone entered land early Friday, it took about two hours more for the rear sector of eye wall to enter the land region.

“Entire eye wall region lies over land. Maximum wind speed was reported at Athiramapattinam 117 kmph followed by Nagapattinam 100 kmph and Karaikkal 83 kmph,” the latest bulletin said. The severe cyclonic storm is very likely to move nearly westwards and weaken gradually into a cyclonic storm Friday.

Due to heavy wind during the cyclone’s landfall, trees, high mast lamps and some power poles in locations including Vedaranyam, Mannargudi, Irulneeki at Tiruvarur District got uprooted. Uprooted trees have fallen on the roads which are being removed by civic workers. Electricity supply was disconnected here and in several other coastal regions in view of the cyclone’s landfall, officials said.

Revenue Minister R B Udaya Kumar told reporters that the government has tackled the cyclone situation successfully. “This was a challenging task…we are confident that we have faced it safely 100 per cent” he said, adding all post-cyclone tasks like cleaning up storm affected areas has begun. The government has got inputs of damage to houses and other properties and the extent of damage will be evaluated, he said.

Four teams each of National Disaster Response Force personnel have been already deployed in Nagapattinam district while two teams of the state disaster response force in Cuddalore district, officials had said Thursday. The state disaster management authority had released an animated video aimed at creating awareness on the do’s and don’ts during cyclone. The government had also announced helpline numbers 1070 (state-level) and 1077 (districts) for those who may need assistance.


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