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