Eighteen people were killed in six districts of Tamil Nadu in rain-related incidents linked to Cyclone Vardah. Chief Minister O Panneerselvam held a meeting of top officials on Tuesday to speed up work to ensure return of normalcy in storm-hit regions.
The government said it is taking all steps to ensure that the jammed mobile phone networks are restored and a meeting of telecom operators and officials was held.
“A total of 18 persons were killed in rain-related incidents linked to Cyclone Vardah,” a top Tamil Nadu government official monitoring the situation told PTI.
He said five each were killed in Chennai and Tiruvallur districts. Four persons died in Kancheepuram district, one each in Villupuram and Nagapattinam districts and two in Tiruvannamali district, the officials added.
He said as expected districts like Tiruvannamalai, Vellore and the Western belt of Dharmapuri too witnessed heavy rains that began with the commencement of the cyclone Vardah’s landfall.
He said traffic has already been cleared in all arterial roads in all of the affected districts and efforts were now on to clear the roads and restore power in other neighbourhoods.
ALSO READ | Cyclone Vardah wreaks havoc in Tamil Nadu: Dos and don'ts
“TANGEDO (State-run power undertaking) itself has deployed about 4,000 personnel to ensure quick restoration of power supply,” he said.
Personnel from multiple government departments including Revenue, Police, Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and other state agencies from Ariyalur, Perambalur, Tiruvallur, Cuddalore, Salem and Thanjavur districts were being deployed to handle the situation in the cyclone-hit regions, he said.
On the number of people now housed in relief centres, he said more than 13,000 people are being sheltered in over 100 centres. All vulnerable areas were identified in advance and teams of officials are on the job, he said.
TN Governor monitoring situation closely
Panneerselvam briefed Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao about rescue and rehabilitation works. The Governor enquired about the situation in the wake of the cyclone and the Chief Minister apprised him of the rescue and rehabilitation works being undertaken, a Raj Bhavan release said.
“The Governor is monitoring the situation closely,” it said.
Rajnath reviews relief operations
Home Minister Rajnath Singh reviewed with senior officials the progress of relief operations in cyclone Vardah battered areas of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
Singh ordered that the inter-ministerial central team should be ready to go to the states immediately on receipt of the memorandum from the state governments.
The meeting was attended by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, Member Secretary, NDMA, DG of NDRF and senior officers of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Singh expressed satisfaction on the preparedness of the central and state agencies which has resulted in minimising casualties.
Stalin rides pillion to visit cyclone affected areas
DMK Treasurer and Tamil Nadu Opposition Leader M K Stalin rode pillion on a two wheeler to visit cyclone Vardah-affected areas in his Kolathur Assembly constituency.
Stalin hopped on to a party functionary’s motorbike to visit areas where his car could not travel, DMK said.
He also spoke to affected people and urged his party workers to aid the state government officials in relief work.
Cyclone Vardah cripples telephone services
Telecommunication network services were hit the most by cyclone Vardah that barrelled through the city yesterday, leaving many people without any means to contact their near and dear ones.
Mobile services, including of Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, were affected in the city and its neighbouring districts, bringing back memories of the deluge last year.
BSNL landlines were operating at some places but its network services were disrupted. Several people took to Twitter expressing anguish over the disruption of services.
Telecommunication companies could not be contacted for a comment. However, the state government has asked them to restore their “full network” at the earliest.
“All telecom companies are told to restore their full network as quickly as possible and its being monitored,” State Disaster Management Agency said in a tweet.
Double whammy for TN as Vardah increases demonetisation woes
Cyclone ‘Vardah’ has hit the currency supply to banks and ATMs here, aggravating the post-demonetisation woes of people already reeling under a severe cash crunch.
While several banks and ATMs are providing cash far below the allowed limit every now and then due to cash shortage, the damage caused by the cyclone has dealt a further blow with movement of cash vehicles coming to a grinding halt, resulting in empty ATMs.
Also, ATMs could not be used to access other services like cheques or cash deposit as electricity supply is yet to be restored in several localities due to fallen trees, snapping power cables.
Adding to those problems, ‘Vardah’ forced many banks to suspend operations, while ATMs have already gone dry.
Even if banks had cash, personnel transporting them to the ATMs were unable to proceed as several trees were uprooted, virtually halting traffic movement, officials said.
Besides, since Tuesday was a holiday on account of Milad-un-Nabi, most ATMs had went out of cash while banks remain closed, causing great hardships to people.
Assocham appeals to industry to help cyclone victims
Industry body Assocham appealed to its members and industrialists to come to the aid of thousands of people evacuated following the devastation caused by cyclone ‘Vardah’ which struck Chennai.
The chamber recommended the industry both in the public and private sectors to set up rapid response units under the aegis of their respective CSR divisions to collect donations to provide vital supplies like food, clothing, beds, blankets tarpaulins, water purification equipment and medicines for people who have been evacuated and shifted to relief shelters.
Assocham also appealed to the insurance industry to constitute special teams to expedite settlement of claims of people hit by the cyclone.