India: Cyclone Thane Strikes, ADRA Responds

SILVER SPRING, Md. – The New Year began tragically for the 18,000 people in Cuddalore district and Pondicherry of India, as they remained sheltered in government buildings and schools after cyclone Thane hit the shore with a forceful speed of 77 mph (125 kph) in the pre dawn hours of January 1st. The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) responded immediately to the situation providing relief assistance to people affected by the cyclone with food Items and emergency shelter materials.

ADRA continues to make detailed assessments in the affected areas and has also met with various local administrative authorities to collect information regarding the current situation and efforts made by the government and other supports guaranteed from other stakeholders. ADRA distributed much needed food to more than 1,200 families affected in the villages of Ariundhamanglam, Panruthi Talik, Cuddalore District, TN palayam Colony, and Pondicherry District.

Cyclone Thane has left greater impacts with coastal Tamilnadu especially the northern coast of Cuddalore and Villupuram districts. Reports of fatalities from different parts of Cuddalore district have risen the death toll to 31 in the district, and 48 others in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. Officials have been challenged to restore electricity, and ensure a regular supply of water in the affected areas. Fire service personnel were involved in clearing uprooted trees manually, while priority was given to restoring power to water pumping stations.

Essential commodities such as water, milk, kerosene and petroleum products have gone scarce in Cuddalore district following the disruption in the supply chain due to road blocks caused by uprooted trees. Supplies of drinking water are being maintained through tankers mobilized from Chennai, Trichy, Thiruvanamalai, Perambalur and Dharmapuri. Though there has been arrangements made for drinking water by the local administration, residents were found searching for water in the affected districts. People also have suffered complete power shutdown, leaving the entire district in darkness. According to initial estimate, at least 10,000 electric poles across the district have been damaged and considerable number of transformers rendered non-functional.