Cyclone Gaja
As the cyclone caused massive destruction across coastal and delta districts, TNM spoke to relief officers in-charge in four districts on the items needed for those affected.

Ten days after Cyclone Gaja hit Tamil Nadu, a few coastal and delta districts are still struggling to get back on its feet. Although the state government has allocated funds to restore normalcy in the affected areas, the people in these districts are still struggling to come to terms with their loss in terms of lives and property.

Cyclone Gaja damaged huts, fishing boats and crops to an extent that acres of coconut farms have been razed to the ground. According to the latest update from the state government, 63 people have lost their lives due to the cyclone and almost 3 lakh people have been housed in relief centres in these districts.

TNM spoke to the officers-in-charge in the four districts, where Cyclone Gaja caused heavy damage, to find out the items that are now in need in the districts and the collection points in each district.

Nagapattinam

Nagapattinam, a coastal district in Tamil Nadu, is one of the districts that was badly affected by the cyclone. Villages in Vedaranyam, Thalainyaayiru and Keelaiyur blocks are some of the worst-affected places due to the cyclone, with people losing almost everything they owned to the gale winds.

Speaking to TNM about the materials required in the district, Project Director Kanchana tells that instead of going directly to the places in districts, it would be helpful if people with relief materials first register with one of the three collection centres in the district.

“When they register in one of the collection centres, it would enable us to direct them to those villages that actually need the donated items. This helps serve the people who are in need and avoid duplication. We can also direct the donors to those villages that have the population to match the quantity of items they donate. For example, if they have brought materials to cater to 500 people, we can send them to a village that has around 500 people. People who come here with relief materials don’t know the population in each area. So when they take materials for 500 people to a locality where the population is 1,000, it would cause problems between the residents. So we encourage vehicles with relief materials to first come here, register themselves and then proceed to distribute materials,” she says.

Materials required: Tarpaulin sheets, bedsheets, dresses, sanitary napkins, groceries for a family of four for a month (preferably bundled as a kit).

Collection points:  

1.    Government Higher Secondary School, Kurukkathi, Nagapattinam - 611105 on Nagapattinam-Bangalore high road, 15 kms away from Nagapattinam. This is a collection point for people coming from West Tamil Nadu and beyond.

2.    Khagi Sheik Ismail Engineering College, Esanoor, Nagapattinam - 611103 (25 kms from Nagapattinam). This is a collection point for those coming from South Tamil Nadu.

3.    Amirthananthamayee Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Nagapattinam - 611003: A collection point for materials coming from North Tamil Nadu and beyond.

Thanjavur district

Thanjavur district was also badly affected in the cyclone, suffering a heavy loss of agricultural lands and crops. Acres of coconut farms were completely destroyed in the cyclone, leaving coconut farmers in the lurch.

Materials required: Rice, dal and tarpaulin sheets.

Collection point: Government Boys Higher Secondary School, Pattukottai - 614602 is the centralised collection point for the entire district.

Tiruvarur district

Cyclone Gaja, after it made landfall in the wee hours of November 16 near Vedaranyam in Nagapattinam, moved interior to wreak havoc in delta districts. Tiruvarur is one of the badly-hit places, which lost vast agricultural lands and crops to the gale winds.

Materials required: Rice, Dal, cooking oil, biscuit packets, salt and bedspreads.

Collection point: Tiruvarur also has a single collection point from where materials will be despatched to the required places. Relief materials can be sent to Agricultural Marketing Committee section, District Collectorate, Master Plan Complex, Nagapattinam Road, Tiruvarur - 610004.

Pudukkottai district

Pudukkottai was also badly hit by the cyclone that it uprooted trees and electric poles and destroyed houses and farms.

Materials required: Rice, Dal and bedspreads.

Collection points: District Collectorate, Pudukkottai - 622005.