New Delhi, Nov 16 (PTI) At least 13 people have lost their lives and over 81,000 others were affected after Cyclone ‘Gaja’ hit the Tamil Nadu coast early Friday, the National Emergency Response Centre (NERC) said.

Six districts of Tamil Nadu and two in Puducherry were hit by the cyclonic storm which also brought heavy rains in the southern state and the union territory.

Altogether 81,948 people were affected by the cyclone in which so far 13 people have lost their lives, the NERC said in a statement.

Soon after Gaja’s landfall, Home Minister Rajnath Singh called up Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami and assured him of all assistance to deal with the situation arising out of the cyclonic storm.

The home minister also directed Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba to monitor the situation in Tamil Nadu and provide all help to the state administration.

“Spoke to CM Shri K Palaniswami regarding the situation in the cyclone affected areas of Tamil Nadu. Assured all possible assistance from the Centre in mitigating the situation arising due to cyclone. Asked the HS to monitor the situation & provide all help to the state admin (sic),” Singh tweeted.

A release issued in Chennai by the Tamil Nadu government said a “detailed report” will be sent to the Centre on the damage caused by the severe cyclonic storm.

“Chief Minister Palaniswami explained in detail the measures taken by the state government, the damage caused by ‘Gaja’, and the relief measures being taken up on a war-footing,” it said.

The NERC, which functions under the Home Ministry, said 471 relief camps were set up in Tamil Nadu and 57 relief camps in Puducherry.

A total of nine teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) consisting of 237 rescuers with 19 boats are deployed in Tamil Nadu and two NDRF teams comprising 50 rescuers with four boats are deployed in Puducherry for rescue and relief of affected people.

Cyclone ‘Gaja’ crossed Tamil Nadu coast between Nagapattinam and nearby Vedaranyam, bringing with it heavy rains in the coastal region.

Gusty winds due to the cyclonic storm resulted in hundreds of trees and electricity poles being uprooted in Nagapattinam and Karaikal districts.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.