With cyclone Gaja approaching the coast of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, the Indian Navy was put on high alert on Wednesday, officials said. Gaja is expected to make landfall between Pamban and Cuddalore on Thursday afternoon.
Navy officials said the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) has assumed a high degree of readiness to render necessary humanitarian assistance as the cyclone is poised to cross the coast of the two states on Thursday evening.
It's expected that #GajaCyclone will make landfall late night today, may be in South of Cuddalore, in Nagapattinam district. People should be well-prepared. Govt is making its best efforts in this regard: Gagandeep Singh Bedi, Special Officer for Disaster Management. #TamilNadu pic.twitter.com/t1Ol9l5Lqn— ANI (@ANI) November 15, 2018
"Two Indian Naval ships -- Ranvir and Khanjar -- are standing by to proceed to the most affected areas to undertake humanitarian aid and distress relief," said a Navy official. He said these ships will have additional divers, doctors, inflatable rubber boats, integral helicopters and relief material on board.
The official said helicopters, Dornier aircraft and one P8I aircraft are on standby to undertake reconnaissance, rescue and casualty evacuation.
Several district collectors in Tamil Nadu have declared holiday for schools and colleges on Thursday. Besides Tamil Nadu, all educational institutions in Puducherry and Karaikal regions will remain closed in view of the cyclone.
The Tamil Nadu government has already declared that 30,500 rescue personnel are on standby. The district collectors of Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Pudukottai, Nagapattinam, Cuddalore and Ramanathapuram have declared holiday for schools and colleges.
On Wednesday, Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy held a review meeting with officials of various departments at Thirunallar in Karaikal district and took stock of the preparedness.
The chief minister directed the district authorities to keep stock of relief materials. Urging officials to ensure supply of protected drinking water to all areas, Narayanasamy said if needed he would camp in Karaikal to coordinate the activities. Three teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have arrived here to provide emergency assistance. The IMD has advised fishermen not to venture into the sea.
(With agency inputs)