It’s official: cyclone Gaja left 33 dead, uprooted 1.27 lakh trees

CM takes stock of cyclone aftermath; says prevention of diseases top priority

November 18, 2018 12:03 am | Updated 12:12 pm IST - SALEM

Removing roadblocks: NDRF personnel clearing a road of fallen trees in Nagapattinam district on Saturday. M. Srinath

Removing roadblocks: NDRF personnel clearing a road of fallen trees in Nagapattinam district on Saturday. M. Srinath

Cyclone Gaja has claimed the lives of 33 persons, including 20 men, 11 women and two children, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami has said.

Talking to reporters at Vanavasi in Salem district, he said that about 1.77 lakh people were housed in 351 camps, where they were being given food and medical treatment. Over 1.27 lakh trees had been uprooted. The numbers could go up, he said, adding that according to the latest information, over 30,000 electric poles and 105 sub-stations had been damaged.

Medical camps

The government accorded priority to check the spread of communicable diseases in the affected districts. A total of 230 permanent medical camps had been set up in these districts to screen people for any medical disorder. Another 435 mobile camps were covering the villages. A total of 1.30 lakh men, women and children had been screened so far.

About 2,000 cattle heads perished in the cyclone. The Forest Department reported death of 30 deer, he said.

As many as twenty six comprehensive drinking water schemes had been affected, but 10 were fully restored. Restoration work of 11 other drinking water schemes was progressing at a fast pace. Till the restoration of the drinking water schemes, generators would be provided for regular supply of potable water.

Over 10,000 staff had been deputed for restoration work.

On his direction, a five member Ministerial team comprising D. Jayakumar (Fisheries); Dindigul C. Sreenivasan (Forest), P. Thangamani (Electricity), S. P. Velumani (Local Administration) and R. B. Udayakumar (Revenue) rushed to the coastal districts on Saturday and was monitoring restoration work, the CM said.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister’s planned visit to cyclone-hit areas on Sunday was postponed.

Damage to schools

Minister for School Education K.A. Sengottaiyan has said that 136 government schools in Nagapattinam have been damaged by Cyclone Gaja, and that reports of damage to schools in other districts are being assessed.

Addressing mediapersons in Erode on Saturday, he said that the cyclone had caused extensive damage across the State, and that even opposition parties had lauded the steps taken by Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami towards relief and rehabilitation. “The government is responding much faster than the speed of the cyclone,” he claimed.

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