Chennai: Several people died and as many as 82,000 were evacuated before Cyclone Gaja made landfall early Friday morning between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam in Tamil Nadu.
According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) squally weather conditions will likely continue in the area for the next 24 hours. The cyclonic storm has moved westwards towards interior Tamil Nadu bringing heavy rains to the Tamil-Kerala border region.
The storm left in its wake a trail of destruction uprooting trees, electricity poles and damaging crops. Districts like Pudukottai, Thanjavur and Cuddalore bore most of the brunt of the cyclone. Many fishermen boats drifted towards Sri Lankan waters in the heavy storm and the state government was making efforts to bring them back. It has been reported that as many as 173 boats reached the Lankan coast and at least 120 were left damaged due to the storm.
Tamil Nadu CM Palaniswami asked the people to not panic and assured assistance at the earliest. He announced a financial aid of Rs 10 lakh to families of those who died in the cyclone. After a complete assessment of the damages, the state will approach the Centre for assistance. Meanwhile, DMK leader M K Stalin has appreciated the efforts of the state disaster management team and relief measures taken by the state government.
Cyclone Gaja is the second cyclone to hit the coastal area in a month after Cyclone Titli wreaked havoc in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh on October 11, killing a total of 70 people.