Chennai: At least three people were killed in Tamil Nadu, over 1,000 trees uprooted and some low-lying areas marooned due to water-logging following heavy rains on Thursday as severe cyclonic storm Nivar made landfall near Puducherry.
Subsequently, Nivar weakened into a cyclonic storm and further into a deep depression, centered about 50 km west-southwest of Tirupati at 1430 hrs, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) officials said.
According to IMD, it is to weaken into a depression during the next six hours.
Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh also received good rains under the influence of the weather system.
In Tamil Nadu, about 2.30 lakh people have been accommodated in relief camps following the cyclone, Tamil Nadu chief minister K. Palaniswami said.
Earlier, heavy rains lashed Tamil Nadu and Puducherry as Nivar made landfall in the early hours, leading to inundation and uprooting of trees.
Union home minister Amit Shah 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.”
In Tamil Nadu, three people, including a woman, were killed in rain related incidents such as tree and wall collapses here, nearby Ponneri and Villupuram, authorities said.
Officials said about 1,086 trees were uprooted in Tamil Nadu and almost all of them have been removed.
In a few places, overhead electricity cables snapped as heavy trees fell over them and also some vehicles.
In Chennai, citizens in many parts complained of disruption in internet services.
Palaniswami visited Cuddalore, close to Puducherry, and took stock of the damage in the district.
He inspected plantain crops damaged by the cyclone in the district and reviewed the situation along with senior state officials including chief secretary K. Shanmugam.
He also visited the Devanampattinam relief camp, and spoke to the people sheltered there and distributed welfare assistance to them.
He visited the Cuddalore harbour and interacted with fishermen on the impact due to the cyclone and directed officials to redress their grievances.
Later, he told reporters that due to adequate precautionary measures taken by the government, there has been no major damage caused by Nivar.
While 4,233 relief camps were ready to accommodate about 13 lakh people, “right now, about 2.30 lakh of them are in 2,999 camps,” he said.
The extent of the damage could not be quantified now since the assessment “has just started”, he added.
Low lying neighbourhoods in Chennai, including those in suburban Irumbuliyur, Mudichur and Urapakkam witnessed flooding and water entered the houses of many residents.
Rescue personnel ferried cooked food to the people using inflatable boats and while some chose to shift to the homes of their relatives, others continued to stay put battling odds.
In city areas, civic workers pumped out stagnant waters from several locations.
Strengthening infrastructure in recent years, like building about 1,000 km of new storm water drains has helped bringing down water logging to a very minimal level, authorities said.
Airport operations, Metrorail and bus transport resumed on Thursday. State-run bus transportation services, suspended in Villupuram, Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Thanjavur and Pudukottai districts from November 24, resumed from noon today.
Meanwhile, the discharge from Chembarambakkam lake in the city was reduced to about 1,500 cusecs from the 5,000 cusecs on Wednesday, when its level stood at 22 feet as against the total 24 ft.
The quantum of discharge is likely to be brought further down to 500 cusecs to maintain the water level in the lake at 22 feet as against its full level of 24 feet, officials said.
“This is being done anticipating more rains this northeast monsoon period,” a senior official said.
In Andhra Pradesh, heavy to extremely heavy rainfall, under Nivar’s influence, ranging from 6 cm to 30 cm wreaked havoc to crops in thousands of acres in several districts and left one person dead, besides damaging the road network since Wednesday evening.
Puducherry witnessed heavy rains and inundation in some parts but there were no reports of loss of life due to the cyclone.
Chief minister V Narayanasamy said there were no reports of loss of lives adding whether boats and nets were damaged or not would be known only later.
The estimated loss to agriculture and other sectors due to cyclone Nivar has been tentatively put at Rs 400 crore and a full assessment is being made, he said, adding, the territorial administration would seek an interim relief of Rs 50 crore from the Centre.
He expressed relief that ‘Nivar’ had caused no big loss and there was no loss of life.
“I thank the Almighty for saving Puducherry from the fury of the cyclone,” he said, appreciating the team work of all departments, the NDRF team and defence personnel.
In view of the cyclone, a prohibitory order that was in force in the Union Territory since November 24 to prevent movement of people and also gathering was lifted on Thursday.
As rains lashed Mamallapuram near here, troops of monkeys sought refuge under the decorative, cave-like arches, dotted with images of deities carved in stone at the ancient Sri Sthalasayana Perumal temple.