Over 15 teams of NDRF have been deployed in various coastal regions of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh for relief and rescue efforts as cyclonic storm ‘Vardah’ is expected to make landfall on Monday.
Two persons were killed as heavy rains accompanied by high velocity winds.
The intensity of the cyclone was so high that a tanker topples in Andhra Pradesh.
TV visuals showed uprooted trees, even as land and air transport was thrown off gear amid reports of casualties. The cyclone made landfall with a wind speed of about 130 kmph. The Met department has repeatedly asked people to stay indoors. Roads are flooded in many places. Flight operations were suspended at the Chennai airport, but there are no reports of flooding on the runway.
“The landfall process of cyclone Vardah has begun,” the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
According to M Mohapatra, Additional Director General (Services) of IMD, the “eye” of the Cyclone is 20 kms off Chennai.
“The wind speed near Chennai 90-100 kmph. Heavy rains and storm surge is expected. Landfall process has commenced at 2 PM. The cyclone will cross between 2-5 PM,” Mohapatra said.
Power supply was suspended in many parts of these regions as a precautionary measure. About 8,000 people from low lying areas in north Chennai, Pazhaverkadu in Tiruvallur district and villages off Mamallapuram, in Kanchipuram district were safely evacuated to 95 relief shelters, officials said.
More than 7,000 people have been evacuated from near the sea in northern Tamil Nadu. About 9,000 people have been evacuated in Andhra Pradesh and the Navy, Air Force and Army are ready for any rescue operations if needed in either state.
Classified as a very severe cyclonic storm, Vardah will take about four hours to cross land completely. The weatherman has said there will be heavy to very heavy rain in south coastal Andhra Pradesh, north coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in the next 36 hours.
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) chief R K Pachnanda said while eight teams are ready in various areas of Tamil Nadu, seven are in Andhra Pradesh, apart from few others in nearby locations.
“Some more teams are on alert in Arrakonam and Guntur and they can be transported immediately in case they are required. We are in constant touch with the two state governments, the Indian Meteorological Department and other relief agencies,” the NDRF Director General said.
Each NDRF team, comprising about 45 personnel, has been equipped with rescue gadgets and boats in order to respond to any situation emerging due to the cyclone.
“All arrangements are in place and regular updates are being shared,” the DG said.
Heavy rains lashed Chennai, Tiruvallore and Kancheepuram districts since early morning. Power supply was suspended in many parts of these regions as a precautionary measure.