Cyclone Nilam: Threat over but ship poses problem

Reports said on Thursday that Coast Guard choppers have rescued at least 15 sailors of the Prathibha Cauvery ship.

Zeenews Bureau

Chennai: Reports said on Thursday that Coast Guard choppers have rescued at least 15 sailors of the Prathibha Cauvery ship, which ran aground on Wednesday off Chennai coast as Cyclone Nilam made landfall.

Search operations are on for the five crew members who are still missing. The body of one crew member was pulled off yesterday.

Authorities are also working to ensure the ship is quickly cleared off the Chennai coast and no environmental damage is caused.

Meanwhile, the cyclone crossed Tamil Nadu last evening without leaving much damage behind, after it substantially weakened before making landfall.

The cyclone crossed the Tamil Nadu coast north of Chennai between Mamallapuram and Kalpakkam. While the scale of destruction was minimal said, a few deaths were reported. Different news sources put the toll between two and four.

In Andhra Pradesh, there were no reports of loss of life or crop damage. Over 60 mandals received four cm of rain during the last 24 hours, a minister said.

Among the deaths in Tamil Nadu, two were rain-related - one in wall collapse and one electrocution from Villupram and Thiruvannamala districts, respectively.

There were official reports of nearly 100 trees getting uprooted and several electric poles collapsing due to the strong winds.

"The storm crossed the coast between 4 pm and 6 pm. Strong winds will continue for another six hours and by Thursday morning everything will calm down," YEA Raj, deputy director general, India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

The state government in Tamil Nadu has declared a holiday for schools and colleges in the coastal districts today.

Like Tamil Nadu, neighbouring Andhra Pradesh also escaped the Nilam fury. There was no loss of life or property reported from any of the districts in south coastal Andhra Pradesh.

Electricity supply was disrupted in villages under 16 mandals in Nellore district due to strong winds. Heavy rains lashed Nellore, Prakasam, Guntur and Chittoor districts.

In Hyderabad, Minister for Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation Raghuveera Reddy, who reviewed the situation with officials on Wednesday evening, said the state was not facing any major threat.

The minister, however, said the south coastal districts and the Chittoor district in Rayalaseema region were on alert and taking all measures to prevent loss of life and property. The government deputed three senior officials to Nellore, Chittoor and Prakasam districts to supervise the relief operations.

(With IANS inputs)

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