With heavy rain and storm Cyclone Vardah, the worst in two decades, claimed at least 18 lives and brought the life to a standstill for many hours
Despite the state’s preparedness to face flood like situation keeping in mind last year’s worst, the cyclone ‘Vardah’ barrelled through parts of Tamil Nadu with uprooting thousands of trees, power posts, window panes. The state is limping back to normalcy slowly. Power lines are yet to be restored.
Chennai, the worst-hit city, presented a scene of devastation with thousands of uprooted trees, broken billboards and snapped telephone and power cables besides low-lying areas reporting water logging. The corporation deployed more than 18,000 workers to remove the fallen trees, but the force did not have adequate tools such as electric saws. It turned out that thousands of trees that fell to the gust were not pruned, increasing their vulnerability
Officials said the Cyclone Vardah– meaning red rose–was the most intense storm to have hit Chennai in two decades and packed wind speed of up-to 140 kmph at its peak. The storm uprooted over 1 lakh century old huge trees with large trunks affecting the traffic on the arterial roads. Even three days after nature’s fury, most the city parts go without power.
Electricity Board had brought workers from other parts to restore power on war footing. Preliminary estimate of Tangedco, the total loss to its installations is `1,000 crore. “Our priority was restoring those lines,“ he added. TN government officials estimated the loss at Rs 10,000 crores.
Mobile phones remained virtual ornaments in the hands of Chennaiites as communication lines remained down after the December 12 storm. Mobile phone towers collapsed in several parts of the city including Besant Nagar, KK Nagar, Khader Nawaz Khan Road, Adambakkam and Marina. It hit the telecommunication and broad band services severely.
Commerce was impacted as residents couldn’t swipe their cards at merchant establishments which complained of network issues. “All ATMs are now has stopped due to connectivity failure. Bachelors were the worst hit. Due to power failure all hotels, eateries were closed’, said an IT employee.
Many parts of the city suffered due to power outage, disruption in milk, drinking water distributions. The prices of essentials like milk, candles, have sky-racketed by hoarders. The causality is not high when compared to last year’s deluge that continued for a week.
CM O Pannerselvam announced an allocation of Rs 500 crore for cyclone mitigation . On Tuesday he wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to urgently sanction Rs 1,000 crore “on account” payment from the National Disaster Response Fund to Tamil Nadu to enable immediate cyclone relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction measures. He also requested PM to depute a Central team to study the extensive damage caused by cyclone Vardah. He said The State Government will present the detailed Memorandum on the extensive damages suffered due to the cyclonic storm Vardah in the next few days.
Meanwhile, A central team is expected to reach Tamil Nadu to assess the damage caused by the Cyclone vardah and to quantify loss.