Cyclone Gaja LIVE Update: 20 Killed, Over 80,000 Evacuated as Storm Batters Coastal Tamil Nadu: The Indian Navy are put on high alert due to the cyclonic storm Gaja, which is now approaching towards the coast of south Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The cyclonic storm is poised to reach the coast on Thursday evening. An official statement stated that “The Eastern Naval Command (ENC) has assumed a high degree of readiness to render necessary humanitarian assistance. Two Indian Naval ships Ranvir and Khanjar are standing by to proceed to the most affected areas to undertake Humanitarian Aid Distress Relief (HADR), evacuation, logistic support including providing medical aid. These ships will be embarked with additional divers, doctors, inflatable rubber boats, integral helicopters and relief material that include food, tentage, clothes, medicines, blankets, etc.”
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The statement further noted “One P8I aircraft, Dornier aircraft and helicopters are also standing by to undertake reconnaissance, rescue, casualty evacuation and airdrop of relief material to the stranded”.
The Eastern Naval Command is monitoring the growth of cyclone closely. The Indian Navy also tweeted about being on high alert due to the cyclonic storm and tagged it to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
Officer commanding of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry naval area is in continuous contact with the state government to provide rescue and relief procedures. Meanwhile, aircraft from Dega, Rajali and Parundu (naval air stations) and water jet FACs along with the patrolling boats from Ramnad and Nagapattinam have been warned about the forthcoming cyclonic storm and directed them to return back to the near port.
The Cyclone ‘Gaja’ is estimated to make a landfall on Thursday evening between Pamban and Cuddalore. The National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) also tweeted by presenting a list of do’s and don’ts for the cyclone which include before, during and after cyclone procedure of do’s and don’ts. The list also included the steps for fisherman at the time of cyclone.
The Tamil Nadu government which is supervised by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami has intended to evacuate around 20,000 people located in the coastal line areas and shifting them to relief camps in order to lessen the damage to the properties and human lives due to the cyclone.
Fishing activities have been also put on hold along the Tamil Nadu and neighbouring areas of Andhra Pradesh coasts. The fishermen in the surrounding of the cyclone prone areas have been requested not to go out to the sea.
All educational institutions including schools and colleges would remain closed due to the high alert in Puducherry and Karaikal regions. The officials have also declared holiday for schools and colleges in Thiruvarur, Pudukottai, Nagapattinam, Cuddalore and Ramanathapuram.
In contrast to the framework of the Central Water Commission directing continuous watch over dams, Tamil Nadu revenue minister RB Udayakumar said to the reporters that the dams, lakes and rivers channels were being examined constantly.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecasted very heavy rainfall in some parts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. Rain is also predicted in remote areas over Rayalaseema, Kerala, and south coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh.
The weather agency has also predicted that gale wind speeds would reach 80 to 90 kilometres per hour, over 100 kilometres per hour along the coasts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority (TNSDMA) tweeted on Wednesday about the cyclonic storm, that the storm which was heading towards west-central and adjoining east-central and south Bay of Bengal moved to the west-south-westwards. On Wednesday at 2 PM, the cyclonic storm was about 490 kilometres east of Chennai and 580 kilometres east-northeast of Nagapattinam.