Post-Jayalalithaa, Tamil Nadu Braces Cyclone Vardah, Schools Closed

In less than a week after the demise of J.Jayalalithaa, Tamil Nadu is bracing for the worst storm on Monday, Dec. 12, called Cyclone Vardah with heavy rains and strong winds lashing the coast, forcing shut down of schools and cancellation of flights.

In Andhra Pradesh, the storm is feared to damage the paddy crops and orchards in Ongole and Nellore districts. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu reviewed the situation through teleconference on Sunday evening and advised the officials to keep food and other essential commodities ready.

The storm is likely to hit both Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh coasts with the Indian Navy and the National Disaster Response Force on standby. The expected winds are in the range of 80 to 100 km an hour.

The government has not begun evacuation as the storm is expected to weaken by Monday afternoon. "Arrangements to be made for evacuating people in low lying and vulnerable areas. Relief centres to be kept in readiness along with necessary food, water and other arrangements. Army, Navy, Air-force and Coast Guard have been alerted to be on standby for deployment as and when necessary," a statement from the CM office said.

The Met office said the storm has weakened from very Severe to Severe storm. Already transportation was badly hit and 15 flights have been cancelled and 25 have been diverted so far with 9 of them reporting delay. All schools have been closed in coastal Tamil Nadu cities of Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, and Villupuram. Private firms have been advised to give a holidya to the staff or allow them to work from home on Monday.

The fishermen have been asked not to venture into the sea for the next 48 hours and people in low-lying areas have been advised to move to safer zones.

National Disaster Management Authority, in a tweet, asked people "to remain in safe places and cooperate with state government officials and disaster management agencies".

The Navy said it is ready with relief materials including additional divers, doctors, inflatable rubber boats, integral helicopters and relief material including food, tents, clothes, medicines and blankets to rescue more than 5,000 people.

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