Chennai: Relief operations were
launched on war-footing to bring back normalcy in Cyclone Thane battered Tamil
Nadu's Cuddalore district and the adjacent Puducherry, as the toll caused by
the severe storm mounted to 42 today.
As the administrative machinery was put in
top gear, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said nine more people died in rain
related incidents today. She said five people were killed in
Cuddalore, the worst affected district, three in Kancheepuram and one in Theni.
She also announced a compensation of Rs. two lakh each to those killed.
Thane, packed with wind speeds of about 135
kmph, left around 20,000 people homeless till Friday, particularly in Cuddalore
and Union territory of Puducherry. Parts of Cuddalore district wore a battered
look with hundreds of uprooted trees and electric posts strewn across roads.
Essential items like milk became scarce while officials started supply of
drinking water through 60 tankers.
Rural Industries Minister M C Sampath,
overseeing relief operations, said normalcy would be restored in a couple of
days in Cuddalore district. The cyclone also disrupted rail and air
operations with services cancelled or rescheduled. Flights to international
destinations including the middle-east and Malaysia from Chennai were cancelled
following the inclement weather.
Southern Railway partially canceled and
rescheduled most of the trains between Chennai and southern districts. However, rains continued in the coastal
districts of the state and southern Andhra Pradesh till Friday evening.
District Collector S B Deepak Kumar said that rescue operations were in full
swing in the Union Territory. Uprooted trees were being removed from the roads.
Cuddalore was the most affected, with damaged
roads rendering it difficult for rescue teams including those from National
Disaster Response Force and fire and rescue services to reach the cyclone hit
Some 250 coastal villages inhabited by
fishermen had been put on high alert and there was fear all night long. Several
hundreds were evacuated and taken to the 49 relief shelters. Others have had to
fend for themselves.
Most fishermen have suffered financial losses
due to the cyclone.
fisherman from Puducherry told NDTV, "I have not seen a cyclonic storm like this
ever. At least the tsunami, we ran away and saved our life. This time we have
not earned even 10 rupees in the last one week. No one has come to our help.''
"Catamaran, boat, nets, engine, all have been either damaged or
washed away. What are we going to do? They have not even offered us shelter in
a school or some other building,'' said Shankar, another fisherman in
A comprehensive assessment of the damage done
by Cyclone Thane will take some more time. The immediate danger of loss to life
has passed. But a question mark hangs over the future for thousands of
fishermen along the coast who have lost or had their catamarans and boats
Chennai helpline numbers:
Chennai Corporation - 1913, 25619237; Kancheepuram district administration -
1077, Police control room - 9445465536, 27238001; Tiruvallur district
administration - 27661200; Police control room - 27661010.
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