The Tamil Nadu government has deployed nine teams of the National Disaster Response Force and seven units of the State Disaster Response Force ahead of cyclonic storm Gaja’s landfall in the state on Thursday, Hindustan Times reported.
The teams will be stationed in the coastal districts of Nagapattinam, Cuddalore, Thanjavur, Pudukkottai, Ramanathapuram and Tuticorin. Karaikal in Puducherry is also likely to receive rain. State Minister for Disaster Management RB Udayakumar on Tuesday said the state was prepared to face the storm.
The cyclone, at a speed of 80-100 km per hour, will bring heavy and very heavy rainfall in the districts of Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Karaikal, Pudukottai, Ramanathapuram, Tiruvarur, Tanjavur, the India Meteorological Department said on Wednesday.
At present, the cyclone is at 495 km east of Chennai and 559 km northeast of Nagapattinam. The weather department said the cyclone will make landfall between Cuddalore and Pamban on Thursday evening. IMD Deputy Director General of Meteorology (Chennai) S Balachandran said that when the cyclone makes landfall, it may also bring light showers to Chennai and some other districts of Tamil Nadu till Friday.
Heavy rain was reported in Nagercoil town of Kanyakumari district on Wednesday evening.
S Balachandran said the sea would be rough off Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Andhra Pradesh in the next few days. “During the cyclone landfall, wind speed would be from 90-100 km per hour to 110 km per hour,” he said. “The tides will rise one foot higher than normal and it would cause inundation in Nagapattinam, Karaikal, Pudukkottai, Thanjavur and Ramanathapuram districts.”
Balachandran added that fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea between November 14 and November 16.
Nagapattinam District Collector S Suresh Kumar’s office has identified 274 villages in the district as vulnerable. Among them, 49 villages fall under the coastal zone.
According to a senior official at the district collector’s office, 28 cyclone centres, 14 multipurpose evacuation centres and 191 temporary shelters have been set up. At least 3,124 first respondents have been identified to help people and 1,178 first respondents to rescue animals. For the animals, at least 43 shelters have been identified. The office has kept 35 ambulances ready.
Cuddalore District Collector V Anbuselvan said the district administration has set up 19 inter-departmental zones and have made arrangements to evacuate people living in coastal areas to relief centres, ANI reported.
The Union Ministry of Water Resources has advised the state government to monitor dams, The News Minute reported. “Extremely heavy rainfall in the catchment area is sufficient to fill them up and lapse time between rainfall and peak inflow can be less than 24 hours and in some cases it can be as low as 6-12 hours,” the ministry said in a letter. “Necessary precaution has to be taken as per standard operation procedure.”
The state administration has set up a 24-hour control room in Chennai and directed district collectors to form rescue teams. “Cyclone management committees have been formed in all the 2,559 vulnerable places,” said Udayakumar. “Further, 22,495 people are ready to engage in rescue work.”
The state has also mobilised 368 medical teams, 315 veterinary medical teams, motor pumps, swimmers and snake catchers to provide assistance.
Meanwhile, K Mahesh, the public relations officer of Pondicherry University, said all examinations scheduled for Thursday in Puducherry, Karaikal, Mahe, Yanam and Andaman and Nicobar Islands have been postponed until further notice. All schools in Cuddalore will also remain closed on Thursday, The Indian Express reported.