Chennai: Cyclone Ockhi has crippled the entire power infrastructure of the Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu. Estimates say 4,000 power lines have been affected including 1,500 high tension lines leaving the district largely powerless.
Dr Satyagopal, Relief Commissioner of Tamil Nadu, says, "This is only preliminary assessment. We expect the damage to rise. We have a team from TANGEDCO and we are getting men and material from neighbouring districts to restore power soonest."
Sources say many major areas would get power supply restored tonight. Others which require lots of work would have to wait for five to six days.
Five people have lost their lives, mostly due to trees falling because of heavy rain and wind. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami today announced a relief of Rs 4 lakh to their families.
1,044 people have been evacuated from low lying areas in Kanyakumari. Several villages got inundated with waist deep water; water also entered a famous 17th century temple in Shuchindram.
30 fishermen from Kanyakumari are still missing. The Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard are on the lookout for them.
While the average rainfall in Kanyakumari is 15 cm, Papanasam in Tirunelvelli received 45 cm. Dams in Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli are filling up fast. Storage in the 143 feet high Papanasam Dam in Tirunelvelli has touched 129 feet. The 156 feet high Perunchani Dam in Kanyakumari has waters upto 149 feet. Dr Satyagopal added, "There is no worry about floods now as the waters are released in a regulated manner, monitored by respective Collectors."
Severe crop damage has also been reported from Tuticorin, Tirunelvelli and Tiruvarur districts including destruction of banana plantations and inundation of paddy crop.
The weather department has forecast heavy rains over the next 24 hours. However, the relief commissioner assures "The worst is over. We are fully geared and on guard."