India: Cyclone Gaja Emergency Response in Tamil Nadu- RRF No.20/2018


5th December 2018

Cyclone Gaja made landfall over Tamil Nadu coast on 16th November 2018 at 1:45 AM, wreaking havoc as it passed the coastal districts of Tamil Nadu. Cyclone Gaja made its landfall with wind speed of 120 – 140 kph, leaving behind a huge trail of destruction in the districts of Nagapattinam, Cuddalore, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Pudukottai, Dindigul, Trichy, Karur, Sivagangai, Ramnad, and Karaikal in the Union territory of Pondicherry. According to the Government record, 45 people were killed and around 250,000 people were displaced from their homes on the coasts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in the wee hours of Friday. The state government has appointed some government officials in various districts to expedite the rescue process in the affected areas. Schools have been closed in those districts and university exams were postponed.

According to government sources, 170,454 coconut and banana trees were uprooted, and about 39,938 electric poles were toppled including a large number of transformers. Power supply was suspended for more than two days. Many houses collapsed, making people homeless. Supply of drinking water was also disrupted. The Government has sanctioned an assistance of Rs.30,000 for cattle and Rs.3,000 for goats to the beneficiaries who have lost cattle and goats in the cyclone. Relief workers are trying hard to reach the remote and inaccessible areas of Nagapattinam, Thiruvarur, Thanjavur,Pudukottai and in some parts of Kodaikanal. The regions in the delta has remained without power supply since Friday (16.11.2018). More than 1,17,000 houses including thatched huts, tiled roof houses have been partially or fully damaged.

Humanitarian Needs

As per the preliminary report received from the assessment team grounded in the field, there is dire need of food rations to sustain affected families who are displaced and lost everything due to cyclone.

Fisher folk communities living in the areas of the coastal belt bore the brunt of the storm. They have been warned not to go out to sea for the next few days; hence their immediate livelihood has been severely affected. They will need food and household needs. People are suffering in lack of food supply, c lothes, milk for the children, candles, napkins, medicines and other essential supplies. Gaja Cyclone hits the roof of the thatched hub and tiled roof of the poor and marginalised houses. Hence, we propose to provide food and non - food items to the people of most affected area s .

Action Taken by the Government:

In Tamil Nadu cyclone affected areas 3000 people were accommodated in their schools by UELCI member churches TELC and ALC with the support of the Government and provided relief assistance. However, the relief assistance has not reached to the remote villages and the poorer section of the daily wage labourers, agriculture labourer and their families have been suffering and in crisis situation.