Cyclone Gaja Updates: Death toll reaches 35; Nagapattinam worst affected

Madhuri Adnal

Chennai, Nov 17: Cyclone Gaja has wreaked havoc in coastal Tamil Nadu and the death toll due to the cyclone has reached 35. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami yesterday and assured all possible help from the Centre.

Cyclone Gaja hit Nagapattinam district in Tamil Nadu early on Friday morning, following which heavy rains and strong winds were reported. As the cyclone made its landfall at around 1.40 am, the intensity of the winds decreased for a brief while before rising again.

People were vacated from low lying areas and sheltered at over 300 relief centres in six districts including Nagapattinam, Pudukottai, Ramanathapuram and Tiruvarur, reported news agency PTI.

A MET department bulletin issued at 3.15 said that though the centre of the cyclone is over, real sector of eyewall is still over sea. It would take an hour to move to land. The storm is likely to move nearly westwards and weaken gradually into a cyclonic storm during the next six, the MET department also said in its update.

In an attempt to mitigate damage to properties and human lives, the state administration headed by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami has planned to evacuate around 20,000 people residing on the coastal line and moving them to relief camps.

Helpline numbers:

The Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority has opened district-level helpline 1077 for people to contact in case of emergency. The body's State helpline 1070 is also in use.

Emergency contact numbers for the districts are:

Nagapattinam - 9443500728, 9843810579, 9003322566

Cuddalore - 04142-220700

Tiruvarur - 04366-226623

Pudukottai - 04322-222207

Thanjavur - 04362-230121

Ramanathapuram - 04567-230060

Cyclone Gaja highlights:

11:45 am

At least 35 people were killed and over 82,000 others were affected after Cyclone ‘Gaja’ hit the Tamil Nadu coast early Friday. The rescued people have been sheltered in 471 relief centres in six districts including Nagapattinam, Pudukottai, Ramanathapuram and Tiruvarur, PTI reported.

11:34 am

"There has been a large scale damage to houses, power infrastructure, crops, boats and trees in Nagapattinam. We've mobilised a lot of mobile and static camps, chlorination is being done. More than 200 doctors and paramedical staff is present," Tamil Nadu Health Secy tells ANI.

09:58 pm

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, says PM Modi

09:58 pm

My thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives due to cyclonic conditions in parts of Tamil Nadu. I pray for the quick recovery of those injured. Officials are working towards providing all possible assistance in the wake of the cyclone says PM Modi.

05:36 pm

Devastation due to Cyclone Gaja.

05:35 pm

Most of the warnings of rainfall over interior TN and heavy rainfall in isolated places in Kerala and the Lakshadweep Islands are still in place, according to the IMD bulletin.

05:33 pm

DMK president M.K. Stalin said in a tweet: "The way the @tnsdma (Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority) took preparatory efforts (to tackle the cyclone) is praiseworthy."

04:31 pm

According to official estimates 22 people have lost their lives due to the cyclone.

04:15 pm

Chief Minister K Palaniswami said the relief work will be taken up on a war-footing and that the work was already underway. He said the families of the deceased will be provided a solatium of Rs 10 lakh each from the Chief Minister's Public Relief Fund (CMPRF). Those with severe injuries will be provided with Rs one lakh each while people who had sustained simple injuries will get Rs 25,000 as relief, he added. The damage caused by Gaja, including to the fishing sector, was being assessed, he said.

02:13 pm

"Nagapattinam district has been heavily damaged by Gaja Cyclone. In total, 471 relief camps have been established in which 81,948 ppl are staying. We"ll seek assistance from central government after assessment is done by our officials in the affected areas," says Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi Palaniswamy.

01:02 pm

Spoke to CM K Palaniswami regarding the situation in cyclone-affected areas of Tamil Nadu. Assured all possible assistance from Centre in mitigating the situation arising due to the cyclone: Home Minister Rajnath Singh

12:57 pm

Death toll due to cyclone Gaja rises to 20. Ten persons dead in Thanjavur district, 4 in Tiruvarur, 3 in Pudukkottai, two in Tiruchi and one in Nagapattinam.

12:14 pm

The Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority has opened district-level helpline 1077 for people to contact in case of emergency. The body's State helpline 1070 is also in use. Emergency contact numbers for the districts are: Nagapattinam - 9443500728, 9843810579, 9003322566 Cuddalore - 04142-220700 Tiruvarur - 04366-226623 Pudukottai - 04322-222207 Thanjavur - 04362-230121 Ramanathapuram - 04567-230060

12:11 pm

Chief Minister Palaniswami has announced an ex gratia payment of Rs 10 Lakh to the kin of the deceased. The CM has also announced to visit the affected areas.

11:35 am

Gaja wreaks havoc

10:57 am

"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," says Gagandeep Singh Bedi, In-charge for Disaster Management Officer.

10:50 am

Revenue Minister R B Udaya Kumar said that the government has tackled the cyclone situation successfully, as reported by PTI. "This was a challenging task...we are confident that we have faced it safely 100 per cent" Kumar was quoted saying, adding all post-cyclone tasks like cleaning up storm-affected areas has begun.

10:19 am

Death toll due to Cyclone Gaja reaches 12.

10:04 am

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.

10:01 am

Normal life is several parts of coastal is severely affected. 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.

09:38 am

Mykhel

Severe Cyclonic Storm 'GAJA' weakened into Cyclonic storm about 95 km west of Athirampattinam and 110 km NE of Kodaikanal with wind speed of 65-75 kmph gusting to 85 kmph.

09:32 am

15 Teams of NDRF are prepositioned at Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry and Andaman & Nicobar.

09:31 am

Death Toll increases to 7 in Tamil Nadu.

09:30 am

Cyclone Gaja hit Nagapattinam district in Tamil Nadu early Friday morning. Check here how and why the cylone was named 'Gaja'.

09:09 am

Mykhel

Trees uprooted damaged in Nagapattinam in the overnight rainfall and strong winds which hit the town. NDRF team carrying out clearance work in the area

09:03 am

2 dead in Cuddalore district as Cyclone Gaja ravages Tamil Nadu.

09:02 am

Electricity supply was disconnected in Nagapattinam and in several other coastal regions across Tamil Nadu.

Houses collapse, trees uprooted

Heavy rains accompanied by strong winds as outer edge of the cyclone reaches shore. Roofs of many thatched houses damaged in Vedaranyam. Trees uprooted in Nagapattinam town as cyclone nears shores between Karaikal and Vedaranyam.

29,000 permanent cyclone shelters:

TN minister for industries M C Sampath said,''Chief Minister had instructed district administration, so they are on alert at all places. There has not been a single incident. Cuddalore district has seen so many cyclones, so our preparation is very good.''

''There are 29,000 permanent cyclone shelters, 233 shelters made in schools, colleges & marriage halls. More than 5000 people are present in these shelters, food is being provided to them,'' he further said.

Schools, colleges to remain closed

With the Tamil Nadu government already declaring that 30,500 rescue personnel were on standby, the district collectors of Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Pudukottai, Nagapattinam, Cuddalore and Ramanathapuram have declared a holiday for schools and colleges on Thursday

Fishermen warned in the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu

Fishermen in the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu have been warned not to venture in deep sea in view of Cyclone Gaja.

Also Read:

Weather forecast for Nov 17: As Cyclone Gaja weakens, Chennai rains to fade away

Weather forecast for Nov 16: As Cyclone Gaja intensifies, rainy days ahead for Chennai

Tamil Nadu braces for Cyclone Gaja; Schools in Cuddalore, Rameshwaram to remain closed