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Cyclone Gaja: the aftermath

The boats that were damaged at Eripurakkarai in Thanjavur district on Sunday.

The boats that were damaged at Eripurakkarai in Thanjavur district on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: M. Moorthy

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As many as 45 people were dead, over 1.7 lakh trees were uprooted and public infrastructure was crippled as severe cyclonic storm Gaja made a landfall near Vedaranyam in Nagapattinam district in the early hours of November 16, 2018, leaving a trail of destruction in the delta and coastal districts of Tamil Nadu.

According to official estimates, 735 cattle died, 1.17 lakh houses were damaged and 88,102 hectare of agricultural land were affected in six districts of Tamil Nadu — Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur, Pudukottai and Tiruvarur — and Karaikal in neighbouring Puducherry.

Even though train services have been restored in these districts, it may take time to repair the coastal stations such as Adhiramapattinam where shelters were blown away.

Electricity is yet to be restored in several areas as transformers and cabled have been damaged. The TANGEDCO has suffered a loss of ₹1,000 crore till now as per the assessment done after the Gaja cyclone.

Even as a section of fishermen ventured into the sea two days after the landfall, a number of damaged boats and fishing nets lying ashore paint a grim picture. The impact is deadlier than that of the 2004 Tsunami, the fishermen say.

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