Cyclone Nilam crosses coast leaving minimal damage

Chennai/Hyderabad: Cyclone Nilam crossed the Tamil Nadu coast north of Chennai Wednesday evening between Mamallapuram and Kalpakkam without leaving any serious trail of destruction, an official said. Two rain-related deaths were reported.

In Andhra Pradesh, there were no reports of loss of life or crop damage. Over 6o mandals received four cm rain during the last 24 hours, a minister said

In Tamil Nadu, two rain-related deaths – one in wall collapse and one electrocution – were reported from Villupram and Thiruvannamala districts and a crew member of Prathibha Cauvery ship that ran aground here died while abandoning the vessel along with 22 others in a life boat.

According to state officials around 100 trees and some electric poles collapsed due to the strong winds.

Destruction of property was yet to be assessed, but the damage may not be similar to the one inflicted by Cylcone Thane in December last year, state government officials said.

“The storm crossed the coast between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Strong winds will continue for another six hours and by Thursday morning everything will calm down,” said Y.E.A. Raj, deputy director general, India Meteorological Department (IMD).

Nevertheless the Tamil Nadu government has declared a holiday for schools and colleges in the coastal districts Thursday.

“We are experiencing strong winds and not rains. We have not received any complaints about loss of life or damage to properties,” a police official in Kalpakkam said over phone.

Mamallapuram, a seventh century port city located near here, is a popular tourist destination for its sculptures and is classified as a Unesco world heritage site.

On the other hand, neighbouring Kalpakkam is known as nuclear island with a couple of test reactors of India Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research and two units of Madras Atomic Power Station.

According to Raj wind speed touched 75 kmph here and 65 kmph at Kalpakkam.

The state government had taken several precautionary measures like shifting of around 3,900 people living in low lying areas in Mamallapuram to relief camps.

The absence of rain and relative slow wind speed than expectation helped in a major way to reduce the damage, said a state government official. According to government officials, the extent of damage will be known Thursday.

Chennai Corporation had made arrangements to remove the fallen trees immediately.

Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa reviewed the preventive measures to be taken during the storm while ordering adequate stocks of essential items at relief centres.

Like Tamil Nadu, neighbouring Andhra Pradesh also escaped the Nilam fury. There was no loss of life or property reported from any of the districts in south coastal Andhra Pradesh.

Electricity supply was disrupted in villages under 16 mandals in Nellore district due strong winds. Heavy rains lashed Nellore, Prakasam, Guntur and Chittoor districts.

In Hyderabad, minister for revenue, relief and rehabilitation Raghuveera Reddy, who reviewed the situation with officials Wednesday evening, said the state was not facing any major threat.

The minister, however, said the south coastal districts and the Chittoor district in Rayalaseema region were on alert and taking all measures to prevent loss of life and property. The government deputed three senior officials to Nellore, Chittoor and Prakasam districts to supervise the relief operations.

A team of 47 personnel from National Disaster Response Force were sent to Nellore to take up rescue operations, if required.

The minister said there were no reports of any crop damage. He told reporters that 61 mandals received four cm rainfall during last 24 hours. He said the rains under the influence of the cyclone had benefitted the farmers.

–IANS

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