CHENNAI: Realising the enormity of the havoc wrought by the cyclone Ockhi in Kanniyakumari district at the southern tip of the country, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami sent a minister and three IAS officers to monitor the situation and speed up relief measures to bring back normalcy.
Electricity Minister P Thangamani on Friday joined his colleague RB Udhayakumar, Revenue Minister, in Kanniyakumari as per the chief minister’s directive. Also, three senior IAS officers - Dr Rajendrakumar, Jothi Nirmalasamy and Dr GS Sameeran joined TK Ramachandran, secretary, IT department, in monitoring the operations.
“As many as 1,044 people stranded in inundated localities were evacuated and accommodated in 16 temporary shelters in the district and 205 persons rescued and kept at two relief camps in Tirunelveli. They are being provided with all amenities including food and water,” Palaniswami said in a statement, after reviewing the situation at a high-level meeting at the Secretariat.
He said necessary instructions were given to check the possible of outbreak of water-borne diseases in the aftermath of the cyclone in the affected places. As many as 28 special mobile medical teams have been pressed into service to provide health care for the residents in rain-hit areas, besides giving away the nilavembu drink. Orders were issued to ensure distribution of safe drinking water.
Disclosing that 579 trees were uprooted in Kanniyakumari, Thoothukudi and Tirunelveli districts due to gusty winds, Palaniswami said 329 trees were removed and the State highway and national highway roads completely cleared of fallen trees. 45 JCB machines, 188 power saws and hundreds of men were pressed into service to clear the uprooted trees.
According to the chief minister, seven teams of the Tamil Nadu State Disaster Response Force (TNSDRF) having a strength of 200 men and two teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) with 60 personnel were deployed in Kanniyakumari district for rescue and relief works.
Power network worst-hit
The power network suffered the worst in Kanniyakumari district with 4,000 electric poles falling under the impact of high-speed winds. Of them, 1,500 are high-tension lines and 2,500 low-tension lines. Of the 11 sub-stations affected in the torrential showers, five were repaired and power supply was restored, a senior official said.
Efforts are on to repair the rest of sub-stations and bring back electricity to the affected places.“It may take 2-3 days to repair the entire power network paralysed by the cyclone and bring back normal power supply,” the official told Express.
A total of 302 houses suffered damage in the rains, of them 62 were fully and 240 partially. Palaniswami said a 2,000-strong workforce was sweating it out round the clock in clearing uprooted and fallen electric poles and carrying out repair works under the supervision of 15 officers in the rank of chief engineer.
The district administration, with the help of the Coast Guard, rescued 76 fishermen battling for life in high tide in the sea and efforts were on to rescue another 30 who were reported missing. In view of the swollen water bodies, the authorities concerned were directed to initiate precautionary measures by inspecting bunds, sluices and shutters, the CM added.