23 killed in cyclonic storm Gaja in Tamil Nadu

A severe cyclonic storm, Gaja, battered the Tamil Nadu coast, particularly Nagapattinam, today, leaving about 23 people dead and causing widespread destruction. The cyclonic storm has left a trail of destruction in the coastal areas of Nagapattinam – Vedaranyam and Kodiyakarai and it remains cut off with the uprooted trees and electricity poles blocking vehicle movement. Besides communication links also affected.

Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said that relief and rescue operations would be undertaken on a war-footing to help people resume their normal life in cyclone-hit areas. He announced that the families of the deceased will be provided a solatium of Rs 10 lakh each from the Chief Minister’s Public Relief Fund (CMPRF). For those severely injured, a sum of Rs 100,000 would be paid and those who suffered minor injuries would get Rs 25,000.

Out of the 23 deaths reported across the state, ten people were killed in the cyclone and rain-related incidents Thanjavur, four in Tiruvarur, three in Pudukkottai, two in Trichy and one in Nagapattinam, two deaths were reported in Cuddalore and one in Tiruvannamalai. Officials said that death toll might go up as the worst affected Vedaranyam and Kodiyakarai still remain cut off.

About 82,000 people living in low-lying areas have been sent to 471 relief centres, the Chief Minister said, adding the preventive measures helped keep the death toll low.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh also directed Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba to monitor the situation in Tamil Nadu and provide all help to the state administration.

“Spoke to Chief Minister 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 Home Secretary to monitor the situation and provide all help to the state admin,” Singh tweeted.

DMK president M K Stalin lauded the Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority for its efforts to tackle the severe cyclonic storm ‘Gaja,’ that has crossed the state’s coast.

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