Chennai, December 31, 2011
The death toll in the wake of the severe cyclone "Thane", which ripped through north Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on Friday morning and left behind a trail of destruction, has risen to 43.
A cargo ship stranded near Chennai Port due to cyclonic storm "Thane" on December 30, 2011. UNI PHOTO
The death toll in the wake of the severe cyclone "Thane", which ripped through north Tamil Nadu and Puducherry yesterday morning and left behind a trail of destruction, has risen to 43.
Of these, 35 deaths were reported from Tamil Nadu while the Union Territory of Puducherry accounted for eight.
In Tamil Nadu, Cuddalore district was the worst-hit, with 26 deaths, followed by three in Kancheepuram, two each in Villupram and Tiruvallur districts and one each in Chennai and Theni.
Normal life was thrown out of gear in the affected areas and the administration in both states was trying to restore normalcy at the earliest.
The cyclone caused extensive losses by uprooting trees, telephone and electricity poles and damaging roads.
The cyclone, which had yesterday weakened into a depression, has since turned into a well-marked low pressure area over north Kerala and its neighbourhood, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said this morning.
Under the influence of this system, rainfall at most places, with heavy falls at isolated places, would occur over Kerala during the next 24 hours.
Rainfall at many places, with isolated heavy rainfall, may occur over south interior Karnataka and north interior Tamil Nadu during the next 12 hours, the IMD said, adding the system was under constant watch.
The situation in Cuddalore was grim even as the authorities took up relief measures on a war-footing.
A view of Marina beach in Chennai after sea water left puddles in the sand following high waves due to cyclone "Thane" on December 30, 2011. UNI PHOTO
A day after the cyclone hit the coast between Cuddalore and neighbouring Puducherry between 0630 and 0730 hours yesterday, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa announced a solatium of Rs 1 lakh
each to the families and directed the District Administrations to
take up the relief operatins on a fast track.
Both Cuddalore and Puducherry faced the herculean task of restoring normalcy as almost all electric posts and mobile towers crashed, cutting off power supply and snapping communication links.
"Major roads are being cleared of uprooted trees and traffic is being resumed. People are returning to their homes or going to the homes of their relatives from relief camps. Life is coming back to normalcy," Cuddalore Deputy Superintendent of Police S Vanitha said.
Reports spoke of shortages of drinking water, milk and vegetables and high prices for these items.
"This cyclone is unprecedented, I have not seen such a havoc in my life time," Puducherry Chief Minister N Rangasamy said.
The cyclonic storm also destroyed crops in Cuddalore and other coastal districts. Hundreds of acres of paddy, ready for harvest next month, remained submerged in water.
Banking operations in the district have also been affected in the
absence of power. ATMs stopped functioning and mobile phones fell silent.
Glass panes in many buildings were shattered and DTH (direct-to-home) antennas were blown away by the wind.
Meanwhile, faced with the herculean task of restoring normalcy in the devastated areas, the Cuddalore district administration was involved in full strength in carrying out relief works in the aftermath of the cyclone, that left hundreds homeless.
Steps were being taken to repair several roads which were badly damaged, and remove the electric poles that lay uprooted in many parts of the district, reports said.
Trees in more than 1000 places were uprooted due to gusty winds, which accompanied the cyclone. Power supply which was cut off as a precautionary measure was being restored.
More than 2,700 people were housed in relief centres and steps were being taken to rehabilitate them as their hutments were damaged due to cyclonic storm, the reports said.
Meanwhile, life came back to normal in Chennai city as rains abated significantly, bringing cheer to New Year shoppers.
Though several areas in the suburbs still remained under water, it was business as usual in the city with the sun shining brightly after three days.
In Puducherry, the authorities were trying to restore normalcy after the cyclone uprooted thousands of trees and electric poles. Several houses had collapsed and many roads damaged. Traffic signal poles and mobile telephone towers were also affected.
Power supply was restored in some areas today, but several areas were still without power.
Vehicular traffic was almost restored by clearing the uprooted trees.
A large number of fishermen who lost their dwellings were accommodated in government schools, marriage halls and community centres. Food was being supplied to them from a central kitchen opened in the town.
It would take another couple of days to restore normalcy in the Union Territory, official sources added.