Cyclone Gaja that lashed coastal Tamil Nadu wreaked havoc in Nagapattinam early Friday. The cyclone uprooted trees and snapped power lines leaving a trail of destruction claiming 13 lives and flooding standing crops.
According to weather bulletin, the cyclonic storm, gusting up to 120 kmph, crossed Tamil Nadu’s coast between Nagapattinam and nearby Vedaranyam early hours Friday, bringing in heavy rains in the coastal regions.
Officials said ten men and three women died and 28 head of cattle perished in cyclone related incidents despite authorities evacuating as many as 81,948 people to 471 relief centres in Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur, Pudukottai and Tiruvarur districts.
The storm damaged the 16th century Shrine Basilica at Velankanni in Nagapattinam district. The rood cross on top of the church broke and fell. The Church believed to have been constructed after destroying a temple by the Portuguese is built in Gothic style. The Church authorities said the 75-ft tall stone statue of Jesus erected in front of the ‘Morning Star Church’ in the town, sustained structural damage. The hands of the statue have suffered damage. The roof of the Museum of Offerings in the town has also been damaged, said media reports.
Besides loss of lives, 1471 huts were partially damaged and 216 fully destroyed. A total of 4987 trees got uprooted in these districts.
Farmers’ leader P R Pandian told PTI lakhs of coconut trees, plantain and acres of paddy crop have been seriously affected due to the gusty winds.”