Chennai: Ten people have died on Monday after Cyclone Vardah hit the Tamil Nadu coast, making landfall about 15 km away from the capital Chennai. The cyclone, which has weakened now, struck land with a wind speed of 120 and 130 kmph, bringing with it heavy rain that lashed the coast in Tamil Nadu and neighbourig Andhra Pradesh all through Monday forcing thousands to flee their homes. As the Met office has forecast heavy rain in the next 12 hours, offices and educational institutions will remain shut in the affected districts including Chennai on Tuesday. The cyclone barrelled into the southeast coast bringing down trees and power lines as authorities moved tens of thousands of people from low-lying areas.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a series of tweets, expressed solidarity with the people in cyclone-hit areas. “My prayers are with all those people who are affected due to adverse weather conditions caused by #CycloneVardah. Stay safe,” he said in a tweet.
At least 10 people have lost their lives after the cyclone battered the Tamil Nadu coast. Disaster management authorities have confirmed that four people were killed in Chennai, two each in Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur, one in Villupuram and one in Nagapattinam.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, who was constantly monitoring the situation, has announced that Rs. four lakh will be given to relatives of those who died due to cyclone Vardah. More than 10,000 people have been evacuated from near the sea, Mr Pannneerselvam said. More than 9,400 people were moved to relief camps in Andhra Pradesh.
Flight operations that remained suspended at the Chennai airport till late evening on Monday have resumed this morning, the airport officials have confirmed. Suburban train services remained suspended on Monday.
Cyclone Vardah uprooted thousands of trees and many electricity poles in Chennai, tore off hoardings and toppled cars throwing city out of gear. As the cyclone struck land, so strong were the winds that glass panels blew off the facade of a five-star hotel in Chennai, while in Andhra Pradesh, an oil tanker tipped over on a highway.
The power supply that was suspended as precaution on Monday was restored today.
All schools and colleges will remain closed on Tuesday in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh phoned the chief ministers of both Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh to assure them of the centre’s help if needed and to make an assessment of the damage.
The Navy, Army and Air Force are on standby to assist with evacuation and rescue. The Navy has had two ships ready with doctors, food and water for 5,000 people. The National Disaster Response Force or NDRF has deployed 16 teams.
Cyclone Vardah has reached Karnataka today and will pass over to south Goa on Wednesday. Light showers were reported from the state capital Bengaluru this morning.