Cyclone Nivar to hit Tamil Nadu and Puducherry after midnight; NDRF and army prepare for ‘worst’

Cyclone Nivar to hit Tamil Nadu and Puducherry after midnight; NDRF and army prepare for ‘worst’

As Nivar develops into a severe cyclone, TN and Puducherry prepares evacuation and emergency protocols, while holiday has been declared in 16 districts

According to the India Meteorological Department, Cyclone Nivar has intensified into a severe cyclonic storm and will hit the coast of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry by 2 am. The south coastal Andhra Pradesh and Rayalseema are currently experiencing heavy rain under the influence of the cyclone. A red alert has been announced in Andhra Pradesh on November 26.

The Indian Army has sent eight teams and two rescue boats to Chennai, while six teams and a rescue boat were sent to Trichy. Meanwhile, the Indian Coast Guard has deputed teams to Chennai and Ramanathapuram. While Southern Railways has announced diversions and cancellations of trains given the cyclone, flight operations in Chennai airport have been suspended on November 26 from 7 am to 7 pm as a precaution. An Indian Coast Guard vessel has been deployed off Chennai coast with disaster relief items.

Speaking to reporters after visiting the Chembarambakkam reservoir near Chennai, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said that the government had alerted fishermen involved in deep-sea fishing and they have returned to safety.

The government has declared a public holiday in 16 districts — Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, Chengalpet, Villupuram, Cuddalore, Tiruvannamalai, Ariyalur, Perambalur, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Kallakuruchi, Tirupattur, Vellore and Ranipet — on November 26. According to Tamil Nadu Minister for Disaster Management RB Udhayakumar, relief camps have been set up to accommodate about 13 lakh people and eight helicopters of the Indian Navy were kept ready for any rescue operations.

NDRF Director General SN Pradhan said, “Cyclone Nivar is categorised as ‘very severe’. With this perspective, we’re preparing for the worst. Our teams have been on the ground for the last two days. Till now, 25 teams have been deployed through Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Andhra Pradesh. More than 30,000 people have been evacuated from Tamil Nadu and 7,000 from Puducherry. Central, state and local governments are working in tandem. All efforts are being made to minimise damage.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Tamil Nadu CM Palaniswami and Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy and assured all possible support from the Centre. “I pray for the safety and well-being of those living in the affected areas,” the PM later tweeted.

The weather department had initially predicted that Cyclone Nivar was likely to intensify into a “severe cyclonic storm” but has now estimated that it will intensify further. Nivar is the second cyclone in the Bay of Bengal this year. In May, Cyclone Amphan had developed into a super cyclonic storm.

The NationWide