Cyclone Gaja: Heavy rainfall is expected at a few places in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry (File)
At least 11 people have been reported dead as severe cyclonic storm 'Gaja' crossed near Tamil Nadu on Friday. The Tamil Nadu government announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the families of the victims.
As the cyclone hit land, the coastal towns including Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Thondi and Pamban in Tamil Nadu and Karaikkal in Puducherry received moderate rainfall.
According to Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority, as many as 76,290 people were evacuated from low lying areas and sheltered at over 300 relief centres in six districts including Nagapattinam, Pudukottai, Ramanathapuram and Tiruvarur. Due to Cyclone Gaja, a holiday has been declared for educational institutions in Nagapattinam.
Nagapattinam, Cuddalore, Thiruvarur districts are receiving rainfall. The weather office predicted rainfall at most places, with heavy to very heavy at a few places in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
Extremely heavy rain measuring about 20 cm is expected in Cuddalore, Nagappattinam, Karaikal, Tiruvarur, Thanjavur, Pudukkottai, Tuticorin and Ramanathapuram districts, the weather office said.
Here are the updates on Cyclone Gaja:
Spoke to the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Thiru Edappadi K. Palaniswami regarding the situation arising due to cyclone conditions in the state. Assured all possible help from the Centre. I pray for the safety and well-being of the people of Tamil Nadu, PM Moi tweeted.
According to the state power utility, about 500 km of power supply lines were affected by Gaja. Officials said it would take at least two days to restore power supply in Tamil Nadu's Nagapattinam and Thiruvarur districts.
Odisha government has set up more than 470 relief camps and had evacuated more than 80,000 people from their homes in vulnerable areas.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has spoken to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami. Assured all possible assistance from the Centre in mitigating the situation arising due to cyclone. Asked the Home Secretary to monitor the situation and provide all help to the state administration, he tweeted.
Authorities closed schools and colleges and thousands of emergency workers were on standby along with two naval ships with divers, helicopters and inflatable boats.
Gaja is the second major storm to hit India's east coast in recent weeks. Cyclone Titli Odisha in October, killing at least two people.
Storms regularly hit southern India between April and December. Last year, Cyclone Ockhi left nearly 250 people dead in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Cyclone Gaja packed winds of up to 120 kilometres (75 miles) per hour as it barrelled into Tamil Nadu state after hitting the coast near Nagapattinam early Friday bringing heavy rains, the weather office said.
About 82,000 people living in low-lying areas were sent to 471 relief centres, the Chief Minister said, adding that the preventive measures helped keep the death toll low.
Nagapattinam district has been heavily damaged by Gaja Cyclone. In total, 471 relief camps have been established in which 81,948 people are staying. We"ll seek assistance from the central government after assessment is done by our officials in the affected areas: Tamil Nadu CM E Palaniswami
Spoke to Chief Minister K Palaniswami regarding the situation in the cyclone affected areas of Tamil Nadu. Assured all possible assistance from the centre in mitigating the situation arising due to cyclone. Asked the home secretary to monitor the situation and provide all help to the state administration: Home Minister Rajnath Singh
11 people are reported dead in cyclone-related incidents, CM Palaniswami informed.
Edappadi K Palaniswami announces Rs 10 lakh compensation for those who have been killed in cyclone-related incidents.
Cuddalore district has been moderately affected. Due to the moderate rainfall and winds, there are many instances of trees falling down. Since administration was on alert nothing major has happened: Gagandeep Singh Bedi, In-charge for Disaster Management
People who have lost their lives in the cyclone will be given ex-gratia by the state government: State Minister MC Sampath
10,500 people have been evacuated in Cuddalore.
A person died due to electrocution, another due to wall collapse and the third due to tree fall.
3 people have died in cyclone-related incidents in Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu.
Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority said those in the relief centres went up to 81,948 in 471 relief centres.
Cyclone Gaja lay centered over Tamil Nadu, about 95 km west of Atirampattinam and 110 km east-northeast of Kodaikanal, a weather bulletin said.
Cuddalore received 8 cm, Nagapattinam 5 cm and neighbouring Puducherry and Karaikkal 5 cm each up to 5.30 am Friday, the Chennai weather office said.
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.
Many trees were uprooted in Nagapattinam in the overnight rainfall and strong winds which hit the town. An NDRF team is carrying out clearance work in the area.
The severe cyclonic storm 'Gaja' over coastal Tamil Nadu moved nearly westwards, weakened into a cyclonic storm and lay centred over coastal Tamil Nadu at Atirampattinam, a weather bulletin said.
Trees were uprooted and houses damaged in Nagapattinam in the overnight rainfall and strong winds.
It is very likely to move nearly westwards and weaken gradually into a cyclonic storm during next 06 hours. Though centre of cyclone lies over land, rear sector of eye wall is still over sea. It will take about an hour to move over land: India Meteorological Department
The Gaja Cyclone over southwest Bay of Bengal moved further west-southwestwards and crossed Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coast between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam during 00:30 to 0230 hours today: India Meteorological Department
Schools and colleges will remain shut on Friday and offices and business establishments were asked to relieve employees early. The Anna University has postponed its exams.
The Southern Railway cancelled four trains, including three from Chennai to Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur and Thanjavur districts. Four express trains bound for southern districts were diverted. Trains bound for Rameswaram had been stopped at Manamadurai.
Two naval ships equipped with divers, helicopters and inflatable boats were also docked to move to affected areas to provide relief and humanitarian aid, according to reports.
Four teams each from the National Disaster Relief Force and its counterpart in the state are working in Nagapattinam. 9,000 first responders are also working to rescue people.
Senior bureaucrats have been stationed in these coastal districts, officials have said. Power supply was disconnected in Nagapattinam and in several other coastal regions in view of the cyclone's landfall.
During the cyclone's landfall, rains lashed Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, and Thanjavur, uprooting trees in several regions, the details of which are expected later in the day.
The severe cyclonic storm is very likely to move nearly westwards and weaken gradually into a cyclonic storm during the next six hours, the MeT department said in its update.