Chennai, Nov 15 : Around 12,000 people have been evacuated across coastal Tamil Nadu as cyclone Gaja make landfall near Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu around midnight.Heavy Rains have started in Nagapattinam, Cuddalore, Thiruvarur districts.
The outer band of the cyclone has entered the land area near Nagapattinam, nearly 300 km from state capital Chennai. More than 6000 relief camps have been opened in the districts of Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur and Thiruvarur and eight rescue teams have been put in place.
The IMD predicted rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy at a few places over Tamilnadu and Puducherry.
Extremely heavy rain measuring about 20 cm at isolated places is also likely over Cuddalore, Nagappattinam, Karaikal, Tiruvarur, Thanjavur, Pudukkottai, Tuticorin and Ramanathapuram districts, IMD said.
— ANI (@ANI) November 15, 2018
The severe cyclonic storm Gaja, which lay centred about 126 km east of Karaikal in Puducherry, is expected to cross the Tamil Nadu coast near Nagapattinam on Thursday night, Indian Meteoroligcal Department (IMD) said.
According to IMD, Gaja is expected to cross the coast south of Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu by 11 p.m. Thursday with a wind speed of 80-90 kmph gusting to 100 kmph.
The IMD officials said the outer rim of the Gaja cyclone is touching Karaikal and strong winds have already started blowing in the coastal districts.
People in living in low-lying areas have been shifted to relief centres.
Universities and colleges have postponed their exams slated for Friday.
Similarly, schools and colleges in Nagapattinam, Cuddalore and Thiruvarur will be closed on Friday.
According to the AIADMK government, telecommunication companies have said they would have oil stocked for a minimum of five days in the cyclone-expected zone and for 15 days at their headquarters.
The mobile telephone companies also assured the government of moving their mobile telecom towers or cell on wheels to Nagapattinam and Cuddalore.
According to a statement from the state government, arrangements have been made to send bulk SMS to mobile subscribers warning about the weather issued by the emergency control centres.
The Indian Navy is also on high alert and is ready to render any assistance, a statement said.
Two Navy ships – Ranvir and Khanjar – are standing by to proceed to the most affected areas to undertake humanitarian aid, distress relief, evacuation, and logistic support, including proviging medical aid, the Navy said.
Additionally, aircraft from Naval Air Stations Dega, Rajali and Parundu and patrolling boats from naval detachments in Ramnathapuram, Nagapattinam have been warning the fishing vessels about the approaching storm, the Navy said.
Naval aircraft are also standing by to undertake reconnaissance, rescue, casualty, evacuation and air drop of relief material to the stranded.
The Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority has issued helpline numbers and have been issuing alerts through social media, radio, television and TN SMART mobile app. While the state helpline is 1070, district helpline number is 1077. A list of Do’s and Don’ts has also been issued by the government.