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Cyclone Gaja: the aftermath

Pudukottai takes a beating; Tiruchi not so much

The district administration has initiated steps on a war-footing to restore normality: Collector

November 17, 2018 08:20 am | Updated July 04, 2021 04:57 pm IST

A road littered with uprooted trees at Cantonment in Tiruchi

A road littered with uprooted trees at Cantonment in Tiruchi

Uprooted trees, destroyed residential dwellings and fallen electricity poles.

Coastal Pudukottai was witness to largescale destruction caused by Cyclone Gaja in the early hours of Friday.

Strong wind gusts reaching over 100 km per hour had a telling impact even as rescue teams laboured hard to remove uprooted trees clogging main roads and other stretches, leading to traffic hold ups. Power supply was suspended in the early hours as a precautionary measure.

An official release said seven persons died in the district due to rain and put the casualty figures of goats as 225.

Health Minister C. Vijaya Baskar, who inspected the rescue and relief operations carried out in the aftermath of the cyclone attributed the largescale destruction due to strong winds gusting up to 130-140 km.

Over 10,000 electricity poles were damage under the impact of the heavy winds. In some instances, uprooted trees fell on electric lines, leading to snapping of power supply.

The district administration said its first priority was to restore power and water supply and work in this regard had begun. In order to expedite power supply restoration, around 500 electricity staff had been drawn from other districts, Mr. Vijaya Baskar said.

According to official estimates, 483 thatched huts and 649 tiled houses were completely damaged. Teams of officials would be deployed to enumerate the exact extent of damage in agriculture, housing and fisheries sectors.

Firefighters had a tough time all through the day in clearing the uprooted trees on Pudukottai-Thanjavur, Pudukottai-Aranthangi and SIPCOT-Illupur main roads. The clearing works that began in the morning went on till about 3.30 p.m. after which vehicular movements on the main roads were restored, said S. Chezian, who holds additional charge as District Fire Officer, Pudukottai.

Firefighters attended to about over 30 rescue calls in the coastal areas of Jagadapattinam, Avudaiyarkoil, Aranthangi, Manamelkudi and Kottaipattinam, Mr. Chezhian said.

Firefighting strength was augmented by drawing personnel from other districts. Rainfall recorded in the district upto 8. 30 a.m. on Friday was 976.10 mm with an average of 39.04 mm.

Tiruchi district witnessed maximum damage along the Manapparai-Thuvarankurichi and Manapparai-Kulithalai roads due to cyclone Gaja. Over 100 trees and 100 electric poles were uprooted on these stretches. The cyclone also damaged 10 transformers and two cell phone towers. In the city limits, the impact was noticeable in K.K. Nagar, Woraiyur, and Khajamalai areas.

Two persons died in Navalpattu and Valanadu areas. A retired employee of Ordnance Factory, Tiruchi, died after a tree fell on his auto he was driving at Navalpattu. Heavy winds destroyed banana plantations in Lalgudi, Srirangam and Andhanallur areas.

The district administration had initiated steps on a war-footing to remove the fallen trees and electric poles, and to restore electricity, District Collector K. Rajamani said.

By and large, there was not much damage in the district that received an average of 27.09 rainfall against the overall accrual of 677 mm. The Highways, Revenue, Rural Development and Electricity departments undertook joint measures to set right the damages, he said.

District Monitoring Officer and Director of Anna Institute of Management K. Phanindra Reddy werecamping in Tiruchi to oversee restoration works. "We have sent 400 sanitary workers and other support staff to Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam districts,” the Collector said.

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