Cyclone Gaja Wreaks Havoc In TN, Death Toll Climbs To 35. Here Are The Helpline Numbers

Over 80,000 people were evacuated and are now waiting to assess damage to their homes while bracing for adverse weather conditions

Cyclonic storm Gaja went on a rampage in Tamil Nadu, wreaking havoc on the coastline as soon as it made landfall. The disaster has already claimed over 30 lives despite the evacuation of 82,000 people before the cyclone hit the state. However, things could take a turn for the worse as the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) predicts squally weather conditions in the next 24 hours.

According to a report in The Indian Express, the storm has uprooted 1,27,448 trees and damaged numerous electric poles and crops with Puddukotai, Thanjavur, and Cuddalore districts being the worst-affected states. “There has been a large scale damage to houses, power infrastructure, crops, boats and trees in Nagapattinam. We have mobilised a lot of mobile and static camps and chlorination is being done. More than 200 doctors and paramedical staff is present,” ANI quoted Tamil Nadu Health Secretary.

Courtesy: The Indian Express

Power supply has been cut off since Thursday night in the Cauvery delta district, Livemint reported. As heavy rains continue to make the situation worse for certain parts, schools and colleges in 22 districts have been asked to remain shut and universities have delayed their exams.

Nine teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed in Tamil Nadu along with two teams in Puducherry since Wednesday. Bus services have partially resumed as a few of the trains have either been completely or partially suspended.

The aftermath of cyclone Gaja in Tamil Nadu.

For the fishermen folk, over 170 mechanised boats had drifted off to the Sri Lankan coast that the government is currently trying to get back. Fisheries minister D Jayakumar claims that 53 have been brought back, but the others have suffered a lot of damage due to which they can’t be brought back.

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram tweeted, “I have requested HOME MINISTER through Home Secretary to depute a team of two officers immediately to visually inspect the extent of damage caused by cyclone Gaja (sic).”

Tamil Nadu CM Palaniswami has given assurances that his government would provide a financial aid of Rs 10 lakh to the families of those who lost their lives in the tragedy. Cyclone Gaja is the second cyclone to hit the coastal area in one month after Cyclone Titli wreaked havoc in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh on October 11, which killed 70 people.

The government has announced 1070 (state-level) and 1077 (districts) as helpline numbers for those who may need assistance. The National Disaster Management Authority has listed a few dos and don’ts on their website during a cyclone:

When the Cyclone starts

  • Listen to the radio (All India Radio stations give weather warnings).
  • Keep monitoring the warnings. This will help you prepare for a cyclone emergency.
  • Pass the information to others.
  • Ignore rumours and do not spread them; this will help to avoid panic situations.
  • Believe in the official information.
  • When a cyclone alert is on for your area continue normal working but stay alert to the radio warnings.
  • Stay alert for the next 24 hours as a cyclone alert means that the danger is within 24 hours.

When your area is under cyclone warning

  • Get away from low-lying beaches or other low-lying areas close to the coast.
  • Leave early before your way to high ground or shelter gets flooded.
  • Do not delay and run the risk of being marooned.
  • If your house is securely built on higher ground take shelter in the safe part of the house. However, if asked to evacuate do not hesitate to leave the place.
  • Board up glass windows or put storm shutters in place.
  • Provide strong suitable support for outside doors.
  • If you do not have wooden boards handy, paste paper strips on glasses to prevent splinters. However, this may not avoid breaking windows.
  • Get extra food, which can be eaten without cooking. Store extra drinking water in suitably covered vessels.
  • If you have to evacuate the house move your valuable articles to upper floors to minimize flood damage.
  • Ensure that your hurricane lantern, torches or other emergency lights are in working condition and keep them handy.
  • Small and loose things, which can fly in strong winds, should be stored safely in a room.
  • Be sure that a window and door can be opened only on the side opposite to the one facing the wind.
  • Make provision for children and adults requiring special diet.
  • If the centre of the cyclone is passing directly over your house there will be a lull in the wind and rain lasting for half an hour or so. During this time do not go out; because immediately after that, very strong winds will blow from the opposite direction.
  • Switch off the electrical mains in your house.
  • Remain calm.

When Evacuation is instructed

  • Pack essentials for yourself and your family to last a few days. These should include medicines, special food for babies and children or elders.
  • Head for the proper shelter or evacuation points indicated for your area.
  • Do not worry about your property.
  • At the shelter follow instructions of the person in charge.
  • Remain in the shelter until you are informed to leave

Post-cyclone measures

  • You should remain in the shelter until informed that you can return to your home.
  • You must get inoculated against diseases immediately.
  • Strictly avoid any loose and dangling wires from lamp posts.
  • If you have to drive, do drive carefully.
  • Clear debris from your premises immediately.
  • Report the correct losses to appropriate authorities.