As Cyclone Gaja approaches the Tamil Nadu coast, the district of Cuddalore is bracing for impact. According to the Indian Meteorological Department, the cyclone is expected to make landfall somewhere between Pamban and Cuddalore on Thursday evening.
An officer at the Karaikal IMD office told TNM that the exact landfall location can be determined only by Wednesday night, once the cyclone come under the observation of the station.
"As of now, it is still out of the 500km radius that comes within the purview of our station. Our coverage range is from Machilipatnam in Andhra Pradesh to Thoothukudi in South Tamil Nadu. We can tell the possible landfall location only based on the cyclone approach after it comes into the 500 km belt," he said.
According to the Cuddaloreâ€™s district collectorâ€™s office, 13 cyclone evacuation centres and 14 multipurpose evacuation centres have been arranged to house people who could be evacuated. Further, 191 relief centres have also been identified. 41 ambulances have been readied to deal with any casualties that could arise.
A senior officer who has been deputed to supervise the Disaster Management Cell in Cuddalore Collectorate told TNM that the phone lines of emergency numbers (mentioned at the end of this article) will be manned round the clock and that special teams have been put in place for that purpose. She also mentioned that zonal teams are on the field for the past week to arrange and ensure preparedness before Cyclone Gaja.
3,126 first responders have been identified and have been slotted with the task of identifying the affected areas and helping the people there to safeguard themselves. 56 swimmers have also been added to the team.
75 personnel from the NDRF have been stationed at Cuddalore, Parangipettai, and Chidambaram and 117 police personnel have been trained and deputed as a part of the SDRF.
For animals in distress, 43 shelters and 1,178 first responders have been identified and arranged.
Officials have also urged residents to turn to radio station FM 107.8 for instructions and updates on Cyclone Gaja.
Cuddalore emergency contact numbers: 1077, 04142-220700, 04142-221113, 04142-233933 and 04142-221383.