Tamil Nadu steps up relief ops in wake of Cyclone Gaja

Cuddalore: With cyclone Gaja expected to make a landfall between Pamban and Cuddalore by Thursday afternoon, authorities have stepped up their efforts to ensure that the state is ready to face any adverse situation.

As part of rescue and relief operations, the State government has set up an adequate number of relief camps. Cuddalore District Collector, V Anbuselvan stated that around 20,000 families residing in the ‘danger zone’ near the coastline will be shifted to these camps.

In order to minimize casualties and mitigate the damage of both life and property, the administration has urged fishermen to not venture into waters and has assured them cooperation in terms of compensation for the loss of business.

Cuddalore district comprises 683 Village Panchayats, 16 Gram Panchayats, and five municipal areas.

“For the safety of the residents, we have formed 19 interdepartmental zonal teams for the rescue operations. These teams are comprised of several officers from important departments such as police, fire, Public Works Department, Electricity Department etc,” said the District Collector.

Adding that the authorities are ready to combat the calamity, he added that if needed government buildings will be converted to relief camps.

“The total population of the coastal line is 6.5 lakh out of which 20,000 are living in danger zone and we are planning to evacuate them. We will soon shift these people to the relief center. We have 42 permanent relief centers in which around 25,000 people can be accommodated. If the need arises we will convert, community centers, schools and other government building to relief camps,” he said.

As a part of its contingency operations, Cuddalore District Disaster Management Authority will set up a radio station to reach out to an increased number of people during the emergency.

“We will start a radio station where we will make people aware of do’s and don’ts during the cyclone. This step is also taken so that people don’t fall into the trap of fake news,” Anbuselvan said.

According to Chennai’s meteorological department Director, S Balachandran, Cyclone Gaja is lying about 790 kilometers northeast of Nagapattinam and is expected to move in south-southwest direction and cross between Pamban and Cuddalore by the afternoon of November 15.

The cyclone is expected to hit with the wind speed of 80 to 90 km per hour, after which heavy downpour is expected to follow.

Heavy rainfall is expected to hit north coastal Tamil Nadu from the evening of November 14 and is likely to continue till November 16. South Tamil Nadu will also experience heavy rainfall on November 15, and isolated areas will witness rainfall on November 16.

Downpour is also expected in the south coastal region of Andhra Pradesh during the same time. Kerala will also receive rainfall on November 15 and 16, informed the Indian Meteorological Department.