TN on alert as Cyclone Fani moves closer

The State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) asked district collectors, especially those in north Tamil Nadu and coastal areas, to disseminate information about the cyclone and keep schools and other buildings ready to house people if they need to be moved from their homes. (PTI File Photo)

Tamil Nadu on Friday asked district authorities to be on alert and take precautionary measures, including evacuating people living in low-lying areas to safety, as Cyclone Fani is expected to reach northern part of the state early next week.    

The State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) asked district collectors, especially those in north Tamil Nadu and coastal areas, to disseminate information about the cyclone and keep schools and other buildings ready to house people if they need to be moved from their homes.

Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan held a high-level review meeting with officials, including Revenue Administration and Disaster Management Commissioner K Satyagopal, and asked district collectors to appoint required manpower to man the control centres that would help the needy and keep supplies in abundance.

The precautionary measures came as the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said the low pressure has intensified into depression and lay centred about 1140 km east-southeast of Trincomalee (Sri Lanka), 1490 km southeast of Chennai (Tamil Nadu) and 1760 km south-southeast of Machilipatnam (Andhra Pradesh).

“It is very likely to intensify further into a deep depression during next 24 hours and into a cyclonic storm during subsequent 12 hours. It is very likely to move northwestwards off the coast of Sri Lanka during the next 4 days and reach near north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh coast on April 30, 2019 evening,” the IMD said.

It said the winds with a maximum speed of 135 kmph would hit the coast when Cyclone Fani makes its landfall and asked fishermen not to venture into the sea till about the middle of next week.

If Cyclone Fani indeed makes landfall in Tamil Nadu, it would be the second cyclone to hit the state in just six months – Cyclone Gaja in November 2018 left a trail of devastation along the Cauvery Delta region in the state.  

In the evening, Satyagopal told reporters that six teams of NDRF stationed at Chennai and Arakkonam will be fanned out to various parts of Tamil Nadu as a precautionary measure. He also said relief centres would be kept ready for people to be lodged in the event of evacuation.

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