Forming on November 5, Cyclone Gaja moved from Thailand to Malaysia and eventually reached the Bay of Bengal, after which it intensified and reached Tamil Nadu.
Approximately 60 people were killed by the storm by November 22. It was the 5th storm of the year. And it dissipated on the 20th of November, but, not without death and destruction.
13 districts were on high alert for days, and fishermen were told to stay away from seas. Chennai and Kanchipuram were first to take preventive measures since they happen to be administrative and demographic capitals of the state.
About 80,000 people were evacuated and 470 relief camps were set up in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. Heavy winds of about 100-120 km/ph were experienced at landfall time. About 1 lakhs of electric poles, 1000 transformers, 201 electricity substations and 5000 boats were destroyed by the cyclone, says Newsminute. Most lives were lost in Thiruvarur, Thanjavur and Pudukottai districts. A total of 56,000 hectares of crops and trees were damaged, not to mention 1,17,000 houses were destroyed, leaving people homeless and in temporary shelters.
Even after dissipating, the cyclone aftermaths continue to haunt people. Families most affected by the cyclone will receive emergency assistance of 105,000 euros from the European Union, as news by NDTV on 6th December states. The EU funds and supports the Indian Red Cross Society, which will help these communities.
The aid will directly help about 17,500 people in the districts with the most damage. They should receive household items, materials to make tents, kitchen sets and more food. To save from a disease outbreak, insecticide-treated mosquito nets are also being provided. Female run households and disabled people are given priority.
Besides the regular aids, the Tamil Nadu government also sanctioned 7.6 crore rupees to buy other essential commodities and machines. “Following a request from the agriculture engineering department, agriculture secretary Gagandeep Singh Bedi issued an order on Wednesday to purchase about 500 heavy duty chainsaws, wood chipper machines, winch machines, wood splitter machines and shredder-cum-pulverizers (all 20 each)”, mentions Times of India.
Farmers in the most affected districts mostly cultivate coconut trees, which will have to be removed since they have covered entire fields with their debris. Tractors and these machines should help to cut them into parts and then use their lumber later on.
For now, it seems that the situation is pulling itself up. One can only hope for the best.