Cyclone Nivar: TN declares public holiday, Pudhucherry and Andhra Pradesh on high alert

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The Indian Navy and the Coast Guard are in a state of readiness to assist rescue and relief works in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

After the India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a red alert for Tamil Nadu on Tuesday, November 24, the state government has declared a public holiday on Wednesday. However, essential services will continue to function, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami has said.

The regional Meteorological Office in Chennai said the cyclone is likely to move northwestwards and pass Karaikal-Mamallapuram coast around noon on Wednesday. Villupuram, Cuddalore, Puducherry and Chennai are expected to be among the worst hit regions.

The Chief Minister visited the State Emergency Operation Centre at Ezhilagam complex in Chennai to review the precautionary measures being taken. Several trains in the southern zone have been cancelled in view of the cyclone.

Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and R Hemalatha of Madras HC wind up court proceedings at 3:40 pm in the interest of court staff who have to reach home braving heavy rains. Cases that couldn't be heard today will be taken up on Thursday.

The 108 ambulances have been put on state of preparedness for emergencies, Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar has said. About 2,000 litres of fuel has been procured to run generators in case of power failure at the 108 emergency call response centres.

Additional manpower has been deployed and the vehicles have been positioned near government hospitals and police stations to prevent problems arising out of power failure and disruption of telecommunication facilities, the minister said.

All ambulances have been instructed to fill their fuel tanks to capacity. The state has readied 465 ambulances to serve the coastal districts of Nagapsttinam, Cuddalore, Pudukottai, Tiruvarur, Thanjavur and Chengalpattu.

Arrangements have also been made to integrate fire service and police control rooms for emergencies, he added. A 24-hour emergency centre has been established to send out the government's alerts as SMS and through WhatsApp. People may contact 044-28888105 or 7338895011 for assistance in case of emergencies.

The neighbouring states have also started precautions in areas where heavy rain has been predicted. The Andhra Pradesh government has alerted all district officials in coastal areas and Rayalaseema. It has dispatched National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and SDRF teams to Nellore.

The Krishna district administration has alerted all the officials representing low-lying and other vulnerable areas of the district. District Collector A. Md. Imtiaz said that helplines have been set up for the people to reach officials.

Prohibitory orders under section 144 have been clamped in Puducherry, which is another region likely to be hit hard by the cyclone.

The Indian Navy and the Coast Guard are in a state of readiness to assist rescue and relief works in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Naval Area are ready to deploy five flood relief teams and one diving team at Chennai. One Flood relief team each is also on standby at Naval Detachment Nagapattinam, Rameswaram, and Air Station INS Parundu.

One ship, INS Jyoti has been deployed from Visakhapatnam, with Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) materials and diving teams to render assistance as required along the Tamil Nadu &Puducherry coast, a defence press release said.

The Indian Coast Guard has kept 15 disaster relief teams ready for assisting the State and district administrations and has deployed four Offshore Patrol Vessels at sea for assisting fishermen and merchant ships.

Two helicopters are on standby for immediate launch post-landfall of the cyclone for rescue and relief efforts. Three Dornier aircraft are also on standby at Vishakapatnam for surveillance, damage assessment and relief.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi talked to chief ministers of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and assured all support from the Centre. Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has appealed to his party workers in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and parts of Andhra Pradesh to provide assistance to those in need (with inputs from Hindu and News18).  

Image Credit: New Indian Express

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