Cyclone Gaja ripped through Nagapattinam early Friday uprooting trees and snapping power lines leaving a trail of destruction in coastal districts besides claiming many lives as well and flooding standing crops.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami over the current situation in the state after it was hit by cyclone Gaja.
Singh tweeted, “Spoke to CM EK 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 administration.”
Spoke to CM Shri E. 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 HS to monitor the situation & provide all help to the state admin.
— राजनाथ सिंह (@rajnathsingh) November 16, 2018
The cyclonic storm crossed Tamil Nadu’s coast between Nagapattinam and nearby Vedaranyam early hours Friday, bringing in heavy rains in the coastal regions, according to a weather bulletin.
Winds gusting upto 120 kmph uprooted trees, snapped electric cables and blew off roofing-sheets.
According to officials, ten men and three women died and 28 head of cattle perished in cyclone related incidents despite authorities evacuating as many as 81,948 people to 471 relief centres in Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur, Pudukottai and Tiruvarur districts.
The storm caused heavy damage to the 16th century Shrine Basilica at Velankanni in Nagapattinam district.
Due to gusty winds, the rood cross on top of the church broke and fell, Church authorities said.
The church is built in accordance with Gothic architecture. Authorities said the 75-ft tall stone statue of Jesus erected in front of the ‘Morning Star Church’ in the town, sustained structural damage.
According to church officials, the hands of the statue have suffered damage. The roof of the Museum of Offerings in the town has also been damaged.
Expressing grief over the deaths, Chief Minister E K Palaniswami sanctioned a solatium of Rs 10 lakh to the kin of those who died and Rs 25,000-Rs one lakh for the injured.
The chief minister said he has ordered officials to immediately determine the extent of loss and damage in respect of crops, fishing boats, houses, and cattle due to the cyclone.
“I have ordered relief efforts on a war-footing in the affected districts,” he said, adding minsters were carrying out work in districts assigned to them.
Besides loss of lives, 1471 huts were partially damaged and 216 fully destroyed. A total of 4987 trees got uprooted in these districts.