Toll in Cyclone Gaja at 45, says Edappadi Palaniswami; Tamil Nadu CM urges all political leaders to join relief ops

Salem: The toll in Cyclone Gaja has touched 45, Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said on Sunday and appealed to leaders of all political parties to take part in the relief activities.

He said the relief operations were underway on a war footing in the districts affected by the cyclonic storm, and state ministers have been deployed in Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, and Pudukottai to monitor it.

The Tamil Nadu government is collecting details about areas that were badly affected by the cyclone, Palaniswami told reporters in Salem.

File image of K Palaniswami. PTI

File image of K Palaniswami. PTI

"In villages, lots of trees and standing crops have been damaged, affecting the livelihood of farmers. The extent of damage is being evaluated. Till now, 45 people have lost their lives due to the cyclone," the chief minister said.

The Tamil Nadu government has announced a solatium of Rs 10 lakh to the family of each of the deceased from the Chief Minister's Public Relief Fund. Those with severe injuries will be provided with Rs 1 lakh each, while those whose injuries are not grievous in nature will get Rs 25,000 compensation.

Palaniswami said 1.7 lakh trees had been uprooted, 735 cattle died, 1.17 lakh houses damaged and 88,102 hectares of agricultural land has been affected in coastal districts.

Nearly 2.50 lakh people have been provided accommodation in 483 relief camps. As many as 1,014 mobile medical vans have been set up, and so far one lakh people in affected areas have benefited from it, the chief minister said.

Noting that 39,938 electric poles and 347 transformers had been damaged in the affected districts, he said 12,532 men of the state electricity board have been despatched to take up the repair work.

Palaniswami also urged all political leaders and people to extend a helping hand in this time of need. "It is a natural calamity. There should not be any differences like opposition, ruling party in taking up relief operations. I appeal to everyone to help the affected people," he said.

When asked whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi would visit Tamil Nadu, he said the state government had informed the Centre about the damage caused by the cyclone.

On whether the government would seek the army's assistance, Palaniswami said, "As of now, officials and ministers have been directed to visit the affected places. If required we will seek assistance from the Centre."

"Currently, we are facing challenges in removing uprooted trees and replacing the damaged electricity poles," he said.

Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam visited Nagapattinam and said relief work in affected districts was underway on a war footing and normalcy will be restored soon.

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Updated Date: Nov 18, 2018 20:00:31 IST

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