Cyclone Gaja leaves a trail of destruction in Tamil Nadu

Severe cyclonic storm ‘Gaja’ has devastated the Tamil Nadu delta on November 15 and the early hours on November 16, affecting 12 districts of the state.

Predominantly agrarian belt of the state has seen flat coconut farms all over. 60-80% of all coconut trees in the region is destroyed by the cyclonic storm and wind.

One of the most affected Thanjavur Diocese through Thanajvur MSSS has reached out to 5000 families in 126 villages under 12 blocks in Nagapattinam, Thanajvur and Tiruvarur districts. Pudukottai MSSS has reached out to 3700 families in 6 most affected blocks covering 58 villages. 33 field staff are working round the clock in the relief intervention.

The Directors of TMSSS and PMSSS are directly supervising the relief activities in the field. The DSSS from Kottar, Kuzhithurai, Kumbakonam, Chengalpattu, Salem and Madras have sent relief materials to be distributed to the cyclone affected people. Thanjavur Dioceses working in four districts covering 184 villages with dry ration, tarpaulin, clothes, bed sheets, emergency lights, milk powder, and WaSH support.

Tiruchirapalli Diocese through TMSSS (Trichy) has identified damaged 378 shelter units in 6 blocks. They have supported 120 families with dry ration

DMSSS is taking care of the food requirement of 65 families who are stranded in Sirumalai hills of Dindigul district. Identified 358 cyclone-affected families in 4 blocks.

Madurai MSSS through the local Parish priest, convents and CBOs has accommodated cyclone affected people in Kodaikanal area. They are provided with a community kitchen and dry ration through local support to the affected families.

A co-ordination meeting of Caritas India with TASOSS and DSSS of Trichy, Thanjavur, Pudukottai, Madurai and Dindigul is planned for December 03, 2018 at TAOSSS. The focus will be on damages caused to shelter and livelihood intensifying the vulnerability of Dalits and other marginalised communities. It will be followed with field visits to all the affected areas for assessment. CI-TASOSS- DSSS personnel team steered by Dr. John Arokiaraj, Caritas Manager in charge for Tamil Nadu.

The coordination meeting will be used as an opportunity to take stock of the response so far and inform Caritas and the church in India about the emergency response. The following table is already shared with DSSS for updated information.