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World Vision India rushes support to people affected by cyclone Gaja

Cyclone Gaja that made its landfall in the early hours of 16th November 2018, left a trail of destruction killing 63 people and leaving 3.7 lakh people homeless. Along its path, "Gaja", which means elephant in Sanskrit, uprooted thousands of trees, damaged homes and boats. Many areas are still without electricity as close to a lakh electric poles were damaged.

The Tamil Nadu Government sent out timely early warning messages and was prepared to deal with Cyclone Gaja. More than 251,600 people had been evacuated to over 500 relief camps in the districts of Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Pudukottai. Despite this, the damage from the strong winds and heavy rains have been huge. 

World Vision India’s Kilayur Area Development Programme is among the worst affected areas. “We were stranded here on the day the cyclone hit us. We ran to the relief camp. We could not take anything with us,” says Thirupurasundari, from a small village in Kilayur.
“I have never seen anything like this. We always managed during the previous rains. This was very bad,” says Anjan, her husband. Their hut has been completely destroyed in the cyclone.
The government has estimated the number of people rendered homeless at 3.7 lakh, and houses destroyed at 3.4 lakh. The cyclone has crippled agriculture and livelihoods in a fertile region, felling thousands of productive trees and killing livestock. More than 170,000 trees have been uprooted, 735 cattle have died and 88,102 hectare agricultural land has been affected in coastal districts. As a relief amount, the government will provide INR 30,000 per cattle and INR 3,000 per goat that died.
Furthermore, 56,942 thatched houses were completely destroyed and 30,404 thatched houses were partially destroyed in the cyclone. 30,828 houses with roof tiles were also damaged in the cyclone. 

The Tamil Nadu state Government has announced an emergency relief of INR 1000 crore. The Government has also announced INR 1,000,000 as compensation to the families of the people who lost their lives, INR100,000 to those who suffered serious injuries and INR 25,000 for those who suffered injuries in the disaster. The government also announced the construction of one lakh concrete houses for people who have lost their homes, and sought INR 15,000 crore from the centre in aid. The chief minister has appointed 15 teams of senior IAS officers to oversee the operations. 

World Vision India rushed emergency relief materials including rice, lentil, cooking oil, mat, towel and biscuit, to over 15,000 families in Kilayur. For many families in Kilayur, the future looks very bleak. Many of them have lost their livelihoods due to heavy winds and water stagnation in the paddy fields. Entire villages have lost their house and their belongings with them. 

“These materials will really help us for some time,” says Thirupurasundari. In many of the villages, World Vision India is the only organisation that has provided emergency relief. 

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