Here’s how you can stay safe during Cyclone Gaja

The National Disaster Management Authority has issued safety precautions to handle the effects of the cyclone

As Cyclone Gaja is expected to unleash itself on six districts in Tamil Nadu, many may be worried about its impact on life and property. While the India Meteorological Department has warned of likely danger, the National Disaster Management Authority has issued an advisory on what to do before and after the cyclone.

As of 5 pm on Wednesday, the IMD has said that the cyclonic storm has moved south-westwards with a speed of 12 kmph over the past six hours. It is about 470 km from Chennai and 550 km east-northeast of Nagapattinam. Gaja is expected to make landfall between Pamban and Cuddalore during the evening of November 15 as a cyclonic storm with a wind speed of 80-90 kmph, gusting to 100 kmph.

The latest bulletin by the IMD has warned of storm surges of height of about 1 metre above astronomical tide in low-lying areas of Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Pudukkottai, and Ramanathapuram districts of Tamil Nadu and Karaikal district of Puducherry.

The bulletin also cautioned against damage to power supply lines.

“Major damage to thatched huts/houses, rooftops may blow off and unattached metal sheets may fly. Damage to power and communication lines. Major damage to Kutcha and minor damage to Pucca roads. Breaking of tree branches and uprooting of large avenue trees. Damage to paddy crops, banana, papaya trees and orchards. Sea water inundation in low lying area after erosion of Kutcha embankments,” it said.

Six districts in Tamil Nadu – Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Ramanathapuram, Thiruvarur, Pudukkottai, Thanjavur – have announced a holiday for schools and colleges on Thursday

The National Disaster Management Authority has issued the following safety precautions to handle the effects of the cyclone:

Before Cyclone

  • Ignore rumours, stay calm, don’t panic
  • Keep your mobile phones charged to ensure connectivity; use SMS
  • Listen to radio, watch TV, read newspaper for weather updates
  • Keep your documents and valuables in water-proof containers
  • Prepare an emergency kit with essential items for safety and survival
  • Secure your house; carry out repairs; don’t leave sharp objects loose
  • Keep cattle/animals untied to ensure their safety
Fishermen Should
  • Keep a radio set with extra batteries handy
  • Keep boats/rafts tied up in a safe place
  • Don’t venture out in the sea
  • During and After Cyclone
If Indoors
  • Switch off electrical mains and gas connection
  • Keep doors and windows shut
  • If your house is unsafe, leave early before the onset of a cyclone
  • Listen to radio; rely on official warnings
  • Drink boiled/ chlorinated water
If Outdoors
  • Do not enter damaged buildings
  • Watch out for broken electrical poles and wires, and other sharp objects
  • Seek a safe shelter as soon as possible

In addition to this, Gagandeep Singh Bedi, the Special Officer for Disaster Management in Cuddalore, advised citizens to drink sufficient water, charge phones and power banks.

"People should not be without a communication link. It may take up to 10 hours to restore power," he said.

He also requested people living in huts and tin-roofed houses to go to shelters that have been kept ready by the district administration, if they are affected.

Cyclone Gaja NDMA safety