Cyclone Gaja kills 13, causes extensive damage in Nagapattinam

At least 13 people have been reported dead and property worth several crores destroyed as the severe cyclonic storm 'Gaja' hit costal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry early today.

Death toll due to cyclone Gaja increases to 13, which included 10 men and 3 women. Four of them died in Thanjavur, 3 each in Pudukottai and Cuddalore, 2 in Tiruvarur and 1 in Trichy.
Four members, including three siblings, of a family died near Pattukottai in Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu in the early hours today when their house collapsed in cyclone Gaja.
The Tamil Nadu government announced a compensation of Rs10 lakh for the families of the victims.
With the landfall of the cyclone, the coastal towns of Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Thondi and Pamban in Tamil Nadu and Karaikkal in Puducherry received moderate rainfall.
As many as 76,290 people were evacuated from low lying areas and sheltered at over 300 relief centres in six districts, including Nagapattinam, Pudukottai, Ramanathapuram and Tiruvarur. Authorites declared a holiday for schools and colleges in many districts today.
The cyclonic storm is now moving towards Kerala, where it is likely to cause downpour in most districts.
Power supply is expected to resume in Trichy by this evening while communication is yet to established with Vedaranyam as mobile networks are completely down there.
Salt department sources said substantial damage sustained in Vedaranyam salt pans. Vedaranyam is the second largest salt producer after Tuticorin. Officials are yet to assess the damage, but, according to initial reports, the salt produce stored and temporary sheds in Vedaranyam salt pans have suffered severe losses.   
The cyclonic storm is likely to cause downpour in most districts in the State, while the districts from Kollam to Malappuram are likely to experience strong winds with speed reaching 30-40 kmph gusting to 50 kmph.
Trichy district administration and corporation depute 400 sanitary and other workers for the restoration of damaged electric poles and clear trees in Gaja-ravaged Nagappattinam and Tiruvarur
Three teams to Tanjaore, four teams to Pudukottai, five teams to Nagapattinam (South) two teams to Nagapattinam and one team to Tiruvarur districts to access the situation in fishermen hamlets
Tamil Nadu fisheries minister said necessary steps have been taken to ensure the safety of fishermen and protect their equipment and boats. There are 4,926 mechanised boats and 18,364 country crafts in the coastal districts. Fishermen have been advised well in advance to return to safety from sea and anchor the boats fishing harbours, said fisheries minister Jayakumar
173 mechanised boats landed in Sri Lanka due to cyclone Gaja. The government has been taking measures to bring back 53 of them. The other boats are in bad shape and can’t be brought back, said Jayakumar.
Special teams have been deputed to cyclone hit fishermen hamlets in Nagapattinam, Tanjore, Pudukottai and other districts to access the losses. The team will cover 333 villages and enumerate the affected fishermen whose boats were damaged.