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Cyclone Thane kills 33 in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry; spares Andhra

Friday December 30, 2011 11:24:52 PM, IANS

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Cyclone Thane kills five in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry

Five people were killed as Cyclone Thane, packing a wind speed of 140 kmph, made landfall on the coast between Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Friday morning, officials said.  

Cyclone Thane makes landfall in Tamil Nadu

Chennai: At least 33 people were killed as cyclone Thane, with a wind speed of 140 kmph, hit the Tamil Nadu coast near Cuddalore Friday morning, leaving a trail of death and destruction in the state and Puducherry, officials said. The cyclone did not have much impact on Andhra Pradesh coastline.

The total number of deaths in Tamil Nadu is 26 and seven in Puducherry, caused by electrocution, falling of tree or roof or walls.

There were no reports of any casulaties in Andhra Pradesh, with the cyclone only uprooting trees, and damaging roads and crops in a few areas in East Godavari and Chittoor district.

In Tamil Nadu, the coastal Cuddalore district reported 21 deaths while the others deaths were from Villupuram (2), Tiruvallur (2) and Chennai (1).

Standing paddy crops on around 25,000 acres of land in the Cauvery delta region is estimated to have been damaged due the high speed cyclonic wind.

Thousands of people reached relief camps in Cuddalore as the strong wind blew off the thatched roofs of houses.

The wind also uprooted hundreds of trees, electric poles, traffic signal poles and mobile phone towers in coastal districts in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

A Korean cargo ship OSM Arena anchored out in the sea started drifting towards Chennai shore due to the strong current and wind. The ship is now standing at a safe distance and steps to tow the vessel to safer waters will be taken Saturday.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa and Puducherry Chief Minister N. Rangasamy held emergency meetings with their officials to take stock of the situation and take out relief measures.

Jayalalithaa announced a solatium of Rs.200,000 to the families of the dead and released Rs.150 crore for relief and reconstruction of damaged infrastructure.

"District collectors, department heads and secretaries have been ordered to estimate the damages and submit it to the government," she said, in a statement.

Jayalalithaa also ordered ministers B.V. Ramanaa, C.V. Shanmugam, K.A. Jayapal, T.K.M. Chinnaya and M.C. Sampathto oversee relief measures in Tiruvallur, Villupuram, Nagapattinam, Kanchipuram and Cuddalore, respectively.

Teams from the National Disaster Management Force have been sent to Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Chennai and Tiruvallur.

In Chennai, people in low-lying areas were shifted to relief centres and food packets were distributed. Police banned public from venturing out onto the Marina beach as sea waters entered inland, around 500 metres from the shoreline.

Boats and nets of fishermen were sucked into the sea due to high tides.

Chennai, Nagapattinam and Cuddalore witnessed heavy wind and rain since Thursday night.

The sea was rough and inundated some residential areas along the East Coast Road connecting Chennai and Puducherry.

Southern Railways rescheduled two trains, cancelled five and diverted five that reach or leave Chennai.

In Puducherry, power was switched off since 11 p.m. Thursday night as a precaution.

"We don't know what is happening in the outside world. All that we hear is the howling of wind. Many trees have fallen down. Even mobile phone signals are not proper," Puducherry resident S. Ravikumar told IANS.

"We don't know when the power supply would be resumed. It is going to be a dark New Year for us," he said.

In Andhra, Disaster Management Commissioner T. Radha said the cyclone had not caused much damage due to the huge distance between the Andhra coast and the area where it made the landfall.

"There are no reports of any loss of life or property due to the cyclone," he said.

He said since there was no major threat, people were not evacuated from coastal villages or low-lying areas in any district.

The Met Office has also withdrawn the cyclone warning at the ports and for the fishermen along the coast.

However, as rains are predicted over next 24 hours, the officials in south coastal and Rayalaseema regions remained on alert.

There were reports of strong gales uprooting trees and damaging salt farms in the coastal villages in East Godavari district.

Chittoor, Tirupati and other towns in Chittoor district received heavy rains. The roads leading to the famous town at Tirumala were deserted.






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