Cyclone damages homes, kills 10 in southern India
A cyclone blew ashore Friday in a southern India coastal region, killing at least 10 people and damaging homes after more than 80,000 residents were evacuated.
Cyclone Gaja hit coastal areas of Tamil Nadu state with heavy rains and winds of 90 kilometers (55 miles) per hour, said Narendra Kumar, an official of the National Disaster Response Force. The storm was weakening after coming onshore.
People living in low-lying areas had been moved into more than 470 relief centers in six districts, and fishermen were warned to stay away from the sea.
The initial reports indicate the deaths counted so far were caused by wall collapses and electrocution, said NDRF official Umesh, who uses one name.
The storm felled trees and power lines, and authorities preventively disconnected the electric supply to the worst-hit areas to avoid electrocutions. Schools were closed in places, and vehicles remained off the roads in most parts of Nagapattinam and Karaikal districts, the Press Trust of India news agency said.
Tamil Nadu state is prone to cyclones that develop in the Bay of Bengal. In 1999, a cyclone killed more than 15,000 people in eastern Orissa.
Severe cyclonic storm Gaja crossed the Tamil Nadu coast on Friday, felling several trees, damaging thatched huts and hoardings, according to the IMD.
In its weather bulletin, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said Gaja crossed by 12.30am. and 2.30am. between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam with a wind speed of about 110kmph gusting up to 120kmph.
The high-speed wind has damaged the roof sheets of Nagapattinam railway station.
Speaking to the media, R.B. Udhyakumar, Minister for Revenue and Disaster Management, said the extend to damages will be known once the wind speed gets reduced.
He said after the rains preventive measures against breakout of disease will be taken.
The fallen trees are being removed at the earliest, Udhayakumar added.
Road traffic in the cyclone affected Nagapattinam due to fallen trees.
The government had disconnected power supply on Thursday night as precautionary measure. Owing to the cyclone several power poles have been damaged.
Several universities in Tamil Nadu have postponed their exams slated for Friday.
Similarly, schools will remain closed on Friday in Nagapattinam, Cuddalore, Thanjavur, Pudukottai, Thiruvarur and several other districts in Tamil Nadu and in Puducherry including Karaikal.
Over 63,000 people have been evacuated from low lying areas and housed in 289 relief centres in Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur, Pudukottai and Thiruvarur on Thursday itself.
According to the IMD, scattered heavy rains is likely to occur over south Tamil Nadu and south Kerala.
Isolated rain is likely to occur over north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, north Kerala and interiors of south Karnataka.
Gale wind speed reaching 100-110 kmph gusting to 120 kmph very likely in central parts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts during next six hours.
Similarly, gale wind speed reaching 60-80 kmph likely in the remaining parts of Tamil Nadu and Palk Strait during next six hours while strong winds with a speed of 30-40 kmph gusting at 50 kmph is very likely over interior Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Gulf of Mannar, Comorian area and Kerala coast, the IMD said.