Chennai: Cuddalore, which is expected to bear the brunt of cyclone Gaja's fury, and six other districts in close proximity are on high alert and people living in low-lying areas have been asked to move to safer places. The National and State Disaster Response Force personnel have been deployed and the state government has said inter-departmental teams have been formed and are fully equipped to launch rescue operation.
Gaja, presently located at about 690 km east-northeast of Chennai and 790 km east-northeast of Nagapattinam, is likely to move west-southwestwards and intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm during the next 24 hours. It is likely to make a landfall between Pamban and Cuddalore on the forenoon of November 15. During landfall, wind speeds are expected to be as high as 115 kmph along and off TN and Puducherry coasts.
The sea condition too has been predicted to be rough to very rough along TN and AP coasts from November 14 morning. However, the cyclone's intensity is expected to weaken as it makes its landfall. The waves, according to IMD, are likely to rise to about one metre and inundate low-lying areas of Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Pudukkottai and Ramanathapuram districts besides Karaikal at the time of landfall. Damage is expected in Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Thanjavur, Pudukottai and Ramanathapuram. Fishermen have been advised not to venture into central and south Bay of Bengal from November 13 to 15.
As far as Chennai is concerned, the city may experience rains from the midnight of November 14 but may be spared, say Met officials.
Rescue, medical teams, equipment ready to tackle emergency:
According to revenue minister R. B. Udayakumar medical teams have been formed to provide medicare. Generators have been stationed at vantage points to bale out the water in case of inundation and mobile medical teams are also in place. Speaking to reporters here on Tuesday Udayakumar urged the public to remain safe indoors and avoid travel during the stormy hours.
Municipal administration minister S.P. Velumani said about Rs 4.86 crore worth equipment including electric saw, suction machines besides generators have been kept ready to be used during any rescue operation. “About 30 pumps to bale out water and 100 two kv generators, 6 modern hydraulic lifts have been bought for the occasion,” he said.
Says NDRF Deputy Commander Vairavanathan, “the government has sought eight teams as the east coast districts may get affected due to Gaja. Three teams have been dispatched to Nagapattinam as the cyclone has drifted towards Nagapattinam. We will know further based on IMD's updates. We will be going to Vedaranyam for recce. Only then we will have an idea on how to go about while rescuing marooned people.”
According to Nagapattinam district Collector Suresh Kumar the district administration is fully prepared to deal with any emergencies that may arise due to Gaja cyclone. Apart from establishing 24-hours control room at the Collectorate and other government offices, nine multipurpose evacuation shelters and 22 cyclone relief centres have been readied to accommodate the displaced families. In addition schools, marriage halls and private buildings besides 627 new buildings have also been identified to shelter people, if required.
Further, 14 stationary medical centres and 19 mobile units have been readied and about 4,450 persons including 653 women have been drafted for relief and rescue activities. Also for the first time in the country, special teams have been formed to rescue cattle, he said and urged the public to utilise the toll free number 1077.
Steps have been taken to ensure the fishermen return home safely, says commissioner of revenue administration K. Satyagopal. Message has been sent across to those on the deep sea fishing vessels. “We have involved the Indian navy and Coast Guard to communicate to the fishermen and ensure their safe return,” he said....