At least two people were killed and one injured as Cyclone Gaja - a severe category cyclonic storm - hit coastal districts of Tamil Nadu early Friday morning. Over 75,000 people have been evacuated from the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
Heavy rains, accompanied by gusty winds at the speed of up to 120kmph, uprooted trees and damaged structures in Nagapattinam. The power supply was also cut in the area as a precautionary measure in wake of the cyclone's landfall.
#GajaCyclone: Two dead and one injured in Tamil Nadu's Cuddalore district. MC Sampath, State Minister, says, "People who have lost their lives in the cyclone will be given ex-gratia by the state govt." pic.twitter.com/UaXV7d9Sxq— ANI (@ANI) November 16, 2018
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the intensity of the cyclone was greater than what was forecast earlier. The Cyclone crossed Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coast by 2:30 am and was headed west-southwestwards over the Bay of Bengal.
“It is very likely to move nearly westwards and weaken gradually into a cyclonic storm during next 06 hours. Although the centre of cyclone lies over land, rear sector of eyewall is still over sea. It will take about an hour to move over land,” the IMD had said earlier in the morning.
The IMD also said that the gusty winds and atmospheric pressure would likely to result in rising sea, which could inundate low-lying areas of Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Pudukkottai and Ramanathapuram districts of Tamil Nadu and Karaikal district of Puducherry.
Meanwhile, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has initiated a series of pre-emptive measures to prevent the loss of lives of people living near the coastal area.
“The ICG conducted series of community interaction programmes in Kanyakumari, Mandapam, Rameswaram, Cuddalore, Chennai, Nellore, Nizampatnam, Uppada and Vishakhapatnam to sensitise fishermen and coastal population for taking safety measures for the impending cyclone," the Defence Ministry said.
Teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel and two teams of the state disaster response force have been deployed in Nagapattinam and Cuddalore districts, respectively.