For residents of Cuddalore, 'cyclone' spells fear

For residents of Cuddalore, 'cyclone' spells fear, insecurity

The trail of destruction that Cyclone Thane left in 2011 is still fresh in the minds of the people

Water entered many houses and water stood at knee-length on Thursday evening in the locality. Credit: DH photo/ETB Sivapriyan.

For residents of this coastal town in Tamil Nadu, the word cyclone spells fear and insecurity. The trail of destruction that Cyclone Thane left in 2011 is still fresh in the minds of the people and those memories come back to haunt them whenever a cyclone forms in the Bay of Bengal.

When the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) announced that Cyclone Nivar will cross the coast between Mamallapuram and Karaikal, an enclave in the Union Territory of Puducherry, people of Cuddalore were worried and feared about the impact that the cyclone could cause.

“We are happy that there are no major damages and we are alive. We were all worried because the intensity with which Cyclone Gaja made landfall in Tamil Nadu in 2018, wiping out coconut farms across the Cauvery Delta. Since MeT said the winds will pack speeds of up to 145 kmph, we were obviously scared,” Moorthy, who lives in Thazhanguda locality in Cuddalore, told DH.

Arun, his neighbour, interjects to ask how long will people in Cuddalore, especially those living close to the ocean, live in fear. The coastal town was affected in 2015 as well when unprecedented rains lashed Tamil Nadu bringing Chennai underwater, and Thazhanguda was one of the localities to have been affected by tsunami in 2004.

“We don't sleep for days together once a cyclone forms in the Bay of Bengal and makes landfall. We were really scared during the landfall of Cyclone Nivar due to gusty winds. But as luck would have it, there are not much damages. We were all inside a relief camp but came back home once it was clear that no much trees had fallen,” Arun said.

Water entered many houses and water stood at knee-length on Thursday evening in the locality which is very close to the ocean. Those living in the heart of the town too say a cyclone forming in Bay of Bengal is bad news for them.

“First came Cyclone Thane in 2011, and we were affected by Cyclone Nilam, and the worst floods in 2015. We did suffer during Cyclone Gaja and now due to Cyclone Nivar though the damages are less,” Manickam, who runs a tea shop, said.

Since Cuddalore is vulnerable to cyclones, the district administration gets into evacuating thousands of people living close the sea and lodging them in camps.