Cyclone Thane death toll rises to 43

A day after the tropical storm ‘Thane’ left a trail of destruction along Tamil Nadu’s northern districts and Puducherry, the total death toll due to it notched up to 43 on Saturday including 8 deaths in the union territory.

Nine more deaths were reported from Tamil Nadu on Saturday mainly caused due to wall-collapses and heavy rains, taking TN’s total deaths alone to 35, officials said. The number of deaths in Tamil Nadu’s Cuddalore district alone touched 29.

Even as Puducherry is limping back to normalcy amid receding flood waters, the storm has totally crippled Cuddalore district posing a huge challenge to the administration, sources said. Initial estimates have put the extent of damages in Cuddalore district at Rs 1000 crores. Hundreds of acres of standing crops in several districts including Nagapattinam have also been lost due to the pounding rains as the cyclone moved away.  

Facing one of its worst shortages of drinking water, milk and food, Cudddalore is reeling under the killer cyclone’s impact as power supply is yet to be restored. “Hundreds of houses, have been damaged to varying degrees, electric posts twisted out of shape and transformers smashed by the very strong winds ensuring to take at least a week to normalise electricity supply throughout the district,” sources said.

With no power to run motor pumps, people are facing severe shortage of water even for their daily chores. Water in tankers from other nearby districts and accessible sources including from the Neyveli Lignite Corporation is being ferried to Cuddalore to improve the water supply to the people there, said the District Collector V Amuthavalli, adding Cuddalore and Chidambaram taluks in the district have been worst hit.

“Cuddalore has lost almost its entire tree cover” due to the cyclone’s fury, a resident there said. In fishing villages like Devanampattinam, scores of boats and fishing nets have been heavily dented, even as a protective wall erected in the wake of the 2004 Tsunami has collapsed, he added.

Team to visit

A five-member officials’ team from Chennai has rushed to Cuddalore to assess the extent of damages. The MoS at the Prime Minster’s Office, V Narayanasamy said in Chennai that both the Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Governments should write to the Centre about the extent of assistance they need.

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