Cyclone Nivar: 3 killed in Tamil Nadu; states take stock of damage
At least three people have been killed and three others injured in Tamil Nadu as cyclone Nivar slammed into the southern state and Puducherry early on Thursday (November 26), uprooting trees and power lines, officials said.
The cyclone has weakened to a severe cyclonic storm with wind speed of 100-110 kmph gusting to 120 kmph. The cyclone would continue to move north-northwest wards and is expected to further weaken to a cyclonic storm.
Puducherry saw an unprecedented rainfall of 20 cm in the last 20 hours, Chief Minister V Narayanasamy said, adding that the state is still reviewing damage. “Puducherry has been waterlogged, and lots of trees have fallen,” he said this morning (Nov 26). There is power disruption in many parts of the Union Territory and Cuddalore town of Tamil Nadu after the power supply was cut during the landfall accompanied by strong winds.
The cyclone crossed the Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coast around the Union Territory as a severe cyclonic storm between 11.30 pm on Wednesday and 2.30am on Thursday with a wind speed of 120-130kmph, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
The tropical storm, which originated in Bay of Bengal, forced authorities in the southern states to declare a public holiday till Thursday, close the Chennai airport and metro services. Metro and bus services in Chennai, shut ahead of the landfall, have been resumed.
“The cyclone has completely moved to the land, and it has weakened into a severe cyclonic storm; it would further weaken into a cyclonic storm in the next six hours,” Dr S Balachandran, Director at Chennai’s Meteorological Department, said.
“There have been three deaths and three people have been injured. One-hundred-and-one huts damaged and 380 fallen trees have been removed. There is a complete restoration of essential services,” Atulya Mishra, Tamil Nadu’s additional chief secretary, told the media.
IMD said the very severe cyclonic storm over southwest Bay of Bengal moved west-northwestwards with a speed of 90 kmph during past six hours and crossed Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts near Puducherry from 11:30pm on Wednesday night to 2:30am on Thursday as a very severe cyclonic storm with estimated wind speed of 120-130kmph gusting to 145 kmph.
“It weakened into a severe cyclonic storm with a wind speed of 100 to 110 kmph gusting to 120 kmph and lay centred at 2:30 am on November 26 over coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The Nivar would continue to move northwestwards and weaken further into a cyclonic storm during the next six hours,” it added.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami appealed to people to stay indoors as far as possible and said over 4,000 “vulnerable” locations had been identified and local officials have been told to ensure people’s safety. This morning (Nov 26), Disaster Management Minister RB Udhaya Kumar said: “We are waiting for details on damage. The Chief Minister would announce them along with relief and compensation.”
Around 1,200 National Disaster Response Force personnel have been stationed in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh as well, NDRF chief SN Pradhan told the media.
Twelve teams are in Tamil Nadu (six in Cuddalore district and two in Chennai), seven in Andhra Pradesh and three in Puducherry. An additional 20 teams will be on standby in Odisha’s Cuttack, Vijaywada in Andhra Pradesh and Thrissur in Kerala.
Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday spoke to chief ministers of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and assured them of all possible help from the Centre. Shah said the Central government is closely monitoring the situation in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry after the landfall of the cyclone and that National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel are on the ground to help the needy.
“We are closely monitoring the situation in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in the wake of Cyclone Nivar. NDRF teams already on ground to help people in need,” Shah tweeted.
The cyclone uprooted trees in several areas of Chennai even as incidents of wall collapse were reported from some parts of the state. In Puducherry, heavy downpour and wind uprooted trees, damaged electric poles and several areas were inundated. So far no casualties have been reported so far from any part of the Union Territory.
Heavy rains triggered by the storm caused flooding in some streets of Chennai and people were seen walking in knee-deep water in some streets in the south of the Tamil Nadu capital, which has many low-lying areas. Civic body officials said on Twitter that local administration workers have been working to remove fallen trees and power lines.
Some residents in south Chennai had parked cars on a bridge over fears of flooding. Tens of thousands of people were evacuated from low-lying areas of Tamil Nadu ahead of the storm’s landfall.
Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy visited different areas of the Union territory to assess the damage caused by Cyclone Nivar. Narayanasamy said that no loss of life has been reported in Puducherry in the wake of the cyclone. NDRF personnel cleared the uprooted trees in the Kamaraj Nagar area to make way for the public.
“Heavy rainfall of 23 centimetres in 24 hours was observed. No report of loss of life. We have never seen such torrential rains here. Electricity in the city will be restored within 12 hours,” Narayanasamy said.