Chennai: Cyclone Gaja centered over the Bay of Bengal is likely to make a landfall tonight the Indian Meteorological said. Tamil Nadu minister MC Sampath that district administrators were well prepared to handle the situation as they had been instructed by the CM Palaniswami earlier. Sampath said that there are 29,000 permanent cyclone shelters, 233 shelters made in schools, colleges and marriage halls.

Giving an insight into the well-preparedness of the districts, Sampath added that more than 5000 people were present in these shelters and food is being provided to them. He further said that the CM had instructed district administration, so they are on alert at all places. “There has not been a single incident. Cuddalore district has seen so many cyclones, so our preparation is very good,” he said.

The Indian Navy has been put on alert for relief efforts. Two Indian Naval ships Ranvir and Khanjar are standing by to proceed to the most affected areas to undertake Humanitarian Aid Distress Relief (HADR), evacuation, the logistic support including providing medical aid.

Speaking to ANI, Dr. S Balachandran, Director of Meteorological Department (MeT) said that “the cyclone is about 138 km east of Nagapattinam and is moving at a speed of 10 km per hour. The outer band related to spiral band associated with the cyclone has entered the land and we are expecting a landfall between 10 pm to 12 am”.

“We are constantly monitoring the situation and are in touch with the state government and the concerned authorities. Heavy rainfall is expected in some areas,” he added.

Cyclone Gaja is expected to make a landfall between Pamban and Cuddalore first. In an attempt to mitigate damage to properties and human lives, the state administration headed by Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami has planned to evacuate around 20,000 people residing on the coastal line and moving them to relief camps.

On Wednesday, Cuddalore District Collector V Anbuselvan, who visited the possible affected areas, said all private and government schools in Cuddalore would remain closed due to the cyclonic storm.

Apart from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh is also bracing for the impact of the cyclone which is likely to bring heavy downpour and strong winds to several parts of the region for the next couple of days. (ANI)

This is published unedited from the ANI feed.