Cyclone Gaja makes landfall in Tamil Nadu coast, over 76,000 people evacuated
Tens of thousands of people were evacuated on Friday as Cyclone Gaja crossed the Tamil Nadu coast between Nagapattinam and nearby Vedaranniyam uprooting trees and destroying houses in its path.
“The severe cyclonic storm Gaja crossed Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coast between Nagapattinam and Vedaranniyam ... with a wind speed of 100-110 kmph gusting up to 120 kmph…,” the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in its latest bulletin at 4am.
“It is very likely to move nearly westwards and weaken gradually into a cyclonic storm during next 06 hours. Though center of cyclone lies over land, rear sector of eye wall is still over sea. It will take about an hour to move over land,” it said.
The Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority said 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.
A holiday has been declared for educational institutions in Nagapattinam.
Rains lashed Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, and Thanjavur during the cyclone’s landfall, uprooting trees in several regions. Electricity supply was disconnected in Nagapattinam and several other coastal regions in view of the cyclone’s landfall as a precautionary measure, officials said.
Four teams 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.
The state disaster management authority had released an animated video to create awareness on the do’s and don’ts during the cyclone. The government has also announced helpline numbers 1070 (state-level) and 1077 (districts).
IMD has predicted rainfall at most places with heavy rains at a few places and very heavy at isolated places very likely over south and north of interior Tamil Nadu.