Since the cyclonic storm Gaja hit the coasts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on Friday evening, atleast 45 people have died and 250,000 have been evacuated to relief camps.
The most affected districts are Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Pudukottai, Dindigul, Trichy, Karur, Sivaganga, Ramanathapuram, Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu, and Karaikal in Puducherry. In various parts of Alapuzha district in Kerala, nearly 160 houses have been destroyed.
While the damage continues and its extent is still being evaluated, the worst affected are farmers, particularly in coastal districts. 1.7 lakh trees have been uprooted, 735 cattle died, 1.17 lakh houses damaged, and 88,102 hectare agricultural land has been affected.
Challenges in removing uprooted trees and replacing damaged electric poles also continue as many from the state electricity board, including retired persons, are taking up repair work. 39,938 electric poles and 347 transformers have been damaged in affected districts.
Chief Minister K Palaniswami addressed the press on Sunday and appealed to all political party leaders to take part in relief work. He said nearly 2.50 lakh people were provided accommodation in 483 relief camps, and 1,014 mobile medical vans have been set up for one lakh people so far.
He also said relief workers were trying to reach remote areas of Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Pudukottai. These regions have remained without power supply since Thursday, and more than 117,000 houses in the areas have been partially or fully damaged.
MLA Karunas issued a statement today saying the government’s rehabilitation efforts have been tardy in smaller towns and villages, particularly around Tanjavur and Nagapattinam. “Ministers and rescue workers are not visiting these areas. And their efforts are not entirely meeting people’s basic needs for food, water and clothing,” he said.
Meanwhile, actors and others from the industry have taken to twitter to urge people to do whatever possible. #SaveDelta is trending, and retweets and forwards are alerting us about affected areas and relief materials required.
Rajinikanth has issued a statement directing Rajini Makkal mandram to distribute Rs 50 lakh worth relief materials. Kamal Haasan has asked Makkal Needhi Maiam members to extend all possible support on ground. He will also be visiting affected areas soon, starting with Tanjavur district. Actor Vijay has transferred Rs 40 lakh to district presidents of Vijay Makkal Iyakkam, along with instructions on how to carry out relief work.
Director Rajsekar, along with actors Sivakumar, Suriya, Karthi and Jyotika have donated Rs 50 lakh for relief work. Vijay Sethupathi is said to donate Rs 25 lakh worth materials, and Sivakarthikeyan donated Rs 10 lakh to the CM’s relief fund. Varalakshmi Sarathkumar and composer GV Prakash have shown their support. Dhanush Fan Club members have organised medical relief camps.
On behalf of #ActorSivakumar family #SriSivakumar @Suriya_offl @Karthi_Offl #Jyotika & @2D_ENTPVTLTD donating a sum of Rs. 50 Lakhs through NGOs towards #GajaCycloneRelief #GajaCyclone #LetsAllJoinHands #prayfordelta
— rajsekarpandian (@rajsekarpandian) November 19, 2018
— Suriya Sivakumar (@Suriya_offl) November 16, 2018
We all came together so beautifully for our #ChennaiFloods but the time has come again..the farmers who give us our food have no food, water or electricity.. it’s our duty..please help as much as u can.. and pass the word around #SaveDeltaPeoples they need our help.. #behuman pic.twitter.com/Gx78lnorZp
— varu sarathkumar (@varusarath) November 19, 2018
#கஜா புயலால் பாதிக்கப்பட்ட அதிராம்பட்டினம் பொதுமக்களுக்கு.. தஞ்சை மாவட்ட @dhanushkraja ரசிகர் மன்றத்தின் சார்பாக (medical camp) மற்றும் நிவாரண பொருட்கள் வழங்கப்பட்டன. #WeNeedToStandWithDelta#SaveDelta pic.twitter.com/w24MoEeJIH
— Dhanush Fans Club™ (@Dfcteam_) November 19, 2018
Some fan clubs of Rajinikanth have also helped with the relief work. Those collecting money for the 2.0 release on November 29 have now been diverting those funds to cyclone relief.
We have decided to send our savings had for #2Point0 celebrations (banners, posters, fireworks, welfare activities) as relief materials to the victims affected by #GajaCyclone#RBSI #begooddogood @rajinikanth @latharajnikanth @shankarshanmugh @aditi1231 @RIAZtheboss
— RBSI RAJINI FAN PAGE (@RBSIRAJINI) November 19, 2018
GV Prakash tweeted yesterday that his team visited Lena Villaku village of Pudukottai district to distribute relief materials, and was heading to Nadiyam village of Tanjavur district. Theatres like the Tirunelveli-based Ram Muhurtham Cinemas, Chennai-based Rohini Silver Screens, as well as Pa Ranjith’s production house Neelam Cultural Centre have shown support. Rohini Silver Screens and Neelam Culture Centre will be collecting relief materials in Chennai from today.
#BounceBackDelta My teamvisited to Lenavilaku nd dropped Bread Packets and Napkins and Mosquito Coils and water..
Now heading to Nadiyam Village, Peravurani
And Thopukollai REFUGEE camp …
a small initiative from our side … need more support pic.twitter.com/8ddha2HBpL
— G.V.Prakash Kumar (@gvprakash) November 18, 2018
#கஜாபுயலால் பாதிப்புக்குள்ளான மக்களுக்கு உதவிகள் செய்வோம். சென்னையிலிருந்து உணவு,உடை,மருந்துகள் மற்றும் அத்தியாவசியப் பொருட்களை அனுப்ப விரும்பும் தோழர்கள் உடனடியாகத் தொடர்புகொள்ளவும். இயல்புநிலை மீட்க இணைந்திடுவோம்! @beemji @tcl_collective @KoogaiThirai pic.twitter.com/5rbwWLy2wk
— நீலம் பண்பாட்டு மையம் (@Neelam_Culture) November 19, 2018
To get latest updates on cyclone Gaja and find out what you can do, follow #SaveDelta, or visit TN Delta Help Centre’s @DeltaHelpCentre on twitter.