Study Report on Gaja Cyclone 2018

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Executive Summary

Tamil Nadu is historically one of the most vulnerable States to tropical cyclone. The total geographical area of Tamil Nadu is 13 Million hectares and it has a coastline of 1,076 km which is about 15% of the coastline of India. The State is multi-hazard prone, the major natural hazards being Cyclonic storms, Urban and Rural floods, and periodic Droughts. Some of the tropical cyclones that hit Tamil Nadu are Gaja (2018), Ockhi (2017), Vardha (2016), Nilam (2012), Thane (2011), Jal (2010) and Nisha (2008).

Severe Cyclonic Storm Gaja originated as a low-pressure system over the Gulf of Thailand. The weak system intensified into a depression over the Bay of Bengal on November 10 and further intensified to a cyclonic storm on November 11, being classified 'Gaja'. Cyclone Gaja made landfall in South India, at Vedaranyam, Tamil Nadu. At the time of landfall of the cyclone, 100-120 kmph speed was experienced. The highest sustained speed was recorded in Adhirampattinam at 165 kmph and 160 kmph at Muthupet. The cyclone Gaja affected 08 districts of Tamil Nadu, namely, Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Thiruvarur, Pudukottai, Karaikal, Cuddalore, Trichy and Ramanathapuram.

To build upon the learning of Cyclone “Gaja” and to document the lessons learnt and best practices, the present study was undertaken with the following objectives:


The objectives of this study were as follows:

• To critically analyze the role of disaster managers in the management of Cyclone Gaja with special reference to early warning, preparedness, impact, response, and community preparedness.

• To assess the impact of Cyclone Gaja on the infrastructure, services, and communities.

• To study the measures undertaken by the Central Government, State Governments and District Administrations to reduce the mortality and impact of cyclones in the State of Tamil Nadu.

• To document the best practices undertaken during the management of Cyclone Gaja.

• Suggest evidence-based recommendations for better management of Cyclones in the future.