Cyclone ‘Gaja’ batters Tamil Nadu, 20 killed


Cyclone ‘Gaja’ that crossed the Tamil Nadu coast early Friday has left a trail of destruction and devastation and has so far claimed at least 20 lives, reports said. Gaja made landfall near Vedaranyam in Nagapattinam district with fierce winds that uprooted trees and electricity poles besides damaging houses. Vedaranyam and Nagapattinam have been the worst-hit districts while Cuddalore and Puthukottai also bore the brunt of cyclone Gaja that was categorized as a severe cyclonic storm.

Winds with speed up to 120 kmph battered Nagapattinam and was accompanied by heavy rain causing severe damage to communication and power infrastructure in the district.

Nearly 1 lakh people were evacuated from low-lying areas before ‘Gaja’ crossed the coast.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami said relief work was underway and announced Rs 10 lakh exgratia from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund to the next of kin of the deceased.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh assured all-possible help and assistance to the Tamil Nadu Government in dealing with any situation arising out of the severe cyclonic storm.

“Spoke to CM Shri K Palaniswami regarding the situation in the cyclone affected areas of Tamil Nadu. Assured all possible assistance from the Centre in mitigating the situation arising due to cyclone. Asked the HS to monitor the situation & provide all help to the state admin,” Singh tweeted.

Educational institutions have been closed across the State while fishermen have been advised not to enter the Bay of Bengal for the next couple of days.