Thirteen people were killed in Tamil Nadu after Cyclone Gaja made landfall between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam early morning on Friday. The Nagapattinam district suffered maximum damage.
Speaking to the media, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said that while Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Cuddalore, Pudukkottai and Ramanathapuram districts received rainfall, extensive damage has been reported in Nagapattinam. He said he will be visiting the cyclone-affected areas soon. Follow LIVE here
The government has deputed a special team to assess damage to boats, crops and properties. Some 82,000 people were evacuated to 471 relief centres before the cyclone hit.
Palaniswami said there was no need to panic and promised that the government machinery is taking up relief measures on a war footing. He also announced a financial aid of Rs 10 lakh to families of those who died in the cyclone. He said the state government, after completing assessment of damage to properties and crops, will approach the Centre for assistance.
The Centre has promised the state government all assistance to deal with the situation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said all assistance would be provided to the affected people. He spoke to Chief Minister K Palaniswami and learnt about the situation, an official release said.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh issued directions to monitor the situation in Tamil Nadu and to provide all help to the state administration. Singh tweeted that he spoke to Chief Minister Palaniswami about the situation in the affected areas. “Assured all possible assistance from the Centre in mitigating the situation arising due to cyclone. Asked the HS to monitor the situation & provide all help to the state admin,” he tweeted.
Gusty winds due to the cyclonic storm resulted in hundreds of trees and electricity poles being uprooted in Nagapattinam and Karaikal districts. As many as 405 mobile ambulances have been dispatched to treat those affected by the cyclone. For those with major injuries, Chief Minister’s General Relief Fund will provide Rs 1 lakh as compensation while those with minor injuries will be given Rs 25,000, the government announced.
Among those killed are highways department official Muthu Murugan, 56, and sanitation worker Elizabeth Rani, 35, from Sivaganga district; and V Sathish, 22, V Ramesh, 21, V Dinesh, 19, and their cousin M Ayyadurai, 19 who died when a house collapsed near Pattukottai near Thanjavur.
According to Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation, about 12,000 electric poles, 102 sub-power stations, 495 power conductors, 100 transformers and 500 km of power lines had been damaged across seven districts.
After hitting Tamil Nadu’s delta region, the Indian Meteorological Department said, the cyclonic storm moved westwards and lay centred at 8.30 am on Friday over interior Tamil Nadu, leading to heavy rain in southern parts of the state and parts of central Kerala bordering Tamil Nadu.
State Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar said all fishermen from the state were safe as they were alerted in advance. The government was trying to bring back 22-odd fishermen whose boats drifted towards Sri Lankan waters in the heavy storm. A total of 173 boats reached the Lankan coast and at least 120 were damaged. DMK leader and Leader of Opposition in Assembly M K Stalin has appreciated the efforts of the state disaster management team and relief measures taken by the state government.