Cyclone Gaja made landfall in Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu around 1.40 am on Friday, and is expected to weaken gradually into a cyclonic storm. The cyclone has claimed over 11 lives, uprooted trees in several regions. Roads and power connections were cut in many parts of Nagapattinam, Thiruvarur, and Thanjavur districts.
According to Government sources, wind speed was around 111 km per hour. Nagapatinam and Tiruvarur districts were the worst hit. Nearly 12,000 electricity post fell and around 81,948 people are living across 421 shelters, says National Disaster Response Force (NDRF)
The Tamil Nadu government has put its machinery in full alert in vulnerable districts to face the effects of the natural calamity. Four teams each of NDRF personnel have been already deployed in Nagapattinam district, while two teams of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) have been deployed in Cuddalore district.
The Indian Navy has also been put on alert for relief efforts. Two Indian Naval ships - Ranvir and Khanjar - are on standby to proceed to the most affected areas to undertake Humanitarian Aid Distress Relief (HADR), evacuation, and logistic support, including the provision of medical aid.
Around 29, 000 permanent cyclone shelters have been made and food is being provided to those who are residing in them. The government has also made 233 shelters in schools, colleges and marriage halls, say reports.
Train services to various southern parts of the states were hit. Flight services to Tirchy were also hit. Indigo Airline flight which left Chennai at 6 am with 57 passengers returned to Chennai since it could not land.
Holiday has been announced for schools and colleges in Nagai, Thiruvarur, Cuddalore, and Pudukkottai districts. Ariyalur collector also announced a holiday for schools and colleges on Friday. Exams were postponed.