- Cyclone Nirav made landfall near Puducherry at 2:30 am
- Over 2 lakh people evacuated to safety in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry
- The state governments say they have been working on “war-footing”
Three people were killed in Tamil Nadu as Cyclone Nirav made landfall overnight near the costal town of Marakkanam, 30 km north of Puducherry. Hours after the landfall, the tropical storm has weakened from a “very severe cyclonic storm” to a “severe cyclonic storm”. More than two lakh people were evacuated to safety in the two coastal states that had been bracing for the cyclone – the fifth-strongest category on India’s scale of seven storm types. While the damage assessment is on, the state governments said they were working on “war-footing” amid heavy rainfall and flooding in many parts. Cyclone Nivar made landfall at around 2:30 am, with winds of up to 130 km per hour (81 miles per hour), according to the India Meteorological Department.
Here are 10 developments in this big story:
Tamil Nadu has suffered “minimum loss of life and infrastructure due to a planned approach,” state revenue minister RB Udhayakumar told NDTV. Chief Minister E Palaniswami, who had appealed to people to stay indoors as far as possible, will be soon announcing compensation, he added. Three people died in separate incidents as trees fell and walls collapsed amid strong winds.
The tropical storm, which originated in Bay of Bengal, forced authorities in the southern states to declare a public holiday till Thursday, close the Chennai airport and metro services. Metro and bus services in Chennai were resumed this afternoon. The cyclone uprooted trees, and brought with it torrential rain of up to 30 centimetres (12 inches) in a few hours in some parts. Rescue workers were using heavy machinery to remove hundreds of trees.
Heavy rains from the storm caused flooding in some streets of the city of Chennai, Tamil Nadu’s largest city which is home to many large automobile manufacturers. Visuals showed more than a hundred cars parked on the edge of a bridge in Velachery to keep them above the floodwaters.
Puducherry saw an unprecedented rainfall of over 20 cm since yesterday, Chief Minister V Narayanasamy said. “Puducherry has been waterlogged, and lots of trees have fallen,” he said this morning. There is power disruption in many parts of the union territory and Cuddalore town of Tamil Nadu after the power supply was cut during the landfall accompanied by strong winds.
Home Minister Amit Shah this morning tweeted: “We are closely monitoring the situation in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in the wake of Cyclone Nivar. Have spoken to CM Shri @EPSTamilNadu and CM Shri @VNarayanasami and assured all possible help from the centre. NDRF teams already on ground to help people in need.”
Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted on Tuesday, “Spoke to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Shri Edappadi K Palaniswami and Puducherry Chief Minister Shri V Narayanasamy regarding the situation in the wake of Cyclone Nivar. Assured all possible support from the Centre. I pray for the safety and well-being of those living in the affected areas.”
Around 1,200 National Disaster Response Force personnel were stationed in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh as well, NDRF chief SN Pradhan said. Twelve teams are in Tamil Nadu (six in Cuddalore district and two in Chennai), seven in Andhra Pradesh and three in Puducherry. An additional 20 teams will be on standby in Odisha’s Cuttack, Vijaywada in Andhra Pradesh and Thrissur in Kerala.
The Indian Navy has said yesterday it was closely monitoring the movement of Nivar, and was in constant touch with officials of both Tamil Nadu and Puducherry governments. Naval ships, aircraft and rescue and diving teams have been kept on standby. An alert was also sounded at the Madras Atomic Power Station (MAPS) in Tamil Nadu’s Kalpakkam, which is around 20 km from Mamallapuram.
In neighbouring Anhdra Pradesh, heavy rain has been predicted. Nellore and Chittoor districts are on alert, as are parts of Kadapa, Kurnool and Anantpur, with between 11 and 20 cm of rain and wind speeds of up to 75 km per hour expected. Fishermen have been advised not to go out to sea and low-lying areas have been warned of flooding.
This is the third cyclone India has seen in the last few months after Cyclone Amphan killed over 100 people in Bengal. Cyclone Nisarga made landfall on the Maharashtra coast near Alibaugh in June.