A day after Cyclone Gaja made landfall on the Tamil Nadu coast, rescue and relief operations have begun for those stranded or evacuated out of their homes and to clear streets of fallen trees and electric poles. Cyclone Gaja made landfall early Friday morning and 33 casualties have been confirmed with over 81,000 people evacuated out of their homes.
On Friday, the Indian Navy joined the relief operations. Navy personnel stationed at Nagapattinam were swiftly deployed to assess the extent of damage as soon as the weather started clearing after Cyclone Gaja. The naval team joined the state authorities, the NDRF and the civil populace to clear public buildings and roads.
The relief measures were undertaken through the day on November 16 and continued on November 17. Two naval ships â€“ Chetlatâ€™ and â€˜Cheriyam â€“ arrived at Karaikal on Saturday morning carrying relief food material as requested by the civil administration to augment the stateâ€™s efforts in providing relief to cyclone-affected families. Meanwhile, Indian Navy ships Cora Divh and Carnicobar are preparing to depart from Chennai for relief efforts. The Dornier aircraft ex-INS Rajali in Arakonam is undertaking an aerial recce to assess the damage.
Earlier, Indian Navy ships and aircraft were deployed to warn the fishermen to return to harbour and take shelter two days before the cyclone made a landfall.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday spoke to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami and assured all possible help from the Central government to the state that has been battered by Cyclone Gaja.
"Spoke to the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Thiru Edappadi K Palaniswami regarding the situation arising due to cyclone conditions in the state. Assured all possible help from the Centre," PM Modi said in a tweet.
"My thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives due to cyclonic conditions in parts of Tamil Nadu. I pray for the quick recovery of those injured. I pray for the safety and well-being of the people of Tamil Nadu," he added.
Earlier, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh too spoke to Chief Minister Palaniswami and enquired about the cyclone damage.
Leader of the Opposition and DMK President MK Stalin also lauded the preparedness of the Tamil Nadu government in handling Cyclone Gaja. Taking to Twitter, he wrote, "Tamil Nadu has once again been affected by the effects of Cyclone Gaja. The way in which the Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority prepared for this, is laudable. Administrators must cooperate with its continuous actions. It is necessary for the government machinery to act at cyclone pace to remedy the effects of the cyclone."
The leader also urged the DMK cadre to work alongside government rescue efforts.