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Tamil Nadu: Cyclone Gaja claims 26; over 81,000 evacuated


So far the killer cyclone has claimed 26 lives in Tamil Nadu. As per reports, two residents of Cuddalore region and four people in Thanjavur were killed on Friday as the severe cyclonic storm ‘Gaja’ made landfall in Tamil Nadu with wind speed gusting up to 120 kmph.

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It has been reported that Cyclone Gaja has crossed Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coast in the early hours of Friday.

Early Friday, the devastating cyclone Gaja crossed the Tamil Nadu coast between Nagapattinam and nearby Vedaranniyam with wind speed gusting up to 120 kmph, as said in weather bulletin.

As many as 76,290 people were evacuated from low lying areas and sheltered at over 300 relief centres in six districts including Nagapattinam, Pudukottai, Ramanathapuram and Tiruvarur, according to Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority.

The government has declared a holiday for educational institutions in Nagapattinam.

“Severe cyclonic storm Gaja crossed Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coast between Nagapattinam and Vedaranniyam …with wind speed of 100-110 kmph gusting up to 120 kmph, early Friday,” as mentioned in the Meteorological Department (IMD) bulletin.

In the IMD bulletin issued at about 3:15 am, it was further stated, “Though the center of cyclone is over land, rear sector of eyewall is still over sea. It will take about an hour to move over land.”

S Balachandran- Deputy Director General of Meteorology told news agency PTI that the cyclone Gaja will take another two hours to fully cross the coast.

The severe cyclonic storm ‘Gaja’ is very likely to move nearly westwards and weaken eventually during the next six hours, the IMD said.

As the cyclone caused landfall, rains lashed in Thanjavur, Nagapattinam and Tiruvarur regions, uprooting several trees. More details of which are expected later in the day.

In Nagapattinam and in several other coastal regions electricity supply was disconnected in view of the cyclone’s landfall.

Officials said on Thursday that two teams of the National Disaster Response Force personnel were already deployed in Nagapattinam district. While two more teams of the state disaster response force were deployed in the Cuddalore district.

In an animated video creating awareness on the do’s and don’ts during the cyclone was released by the state disaster management authority.

For people needing assistance, the government has announced helpline numbers 1070 (state-level) and 1077 (districts).

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