Alert sounded in Andhra, Tamil Nadu as cyclone Vardah turns 'severe'; schools, colleges closed on Monday

Authorities on Sunday sounded an alert in Andhra Pradesh and adjoining Tamil Nadu as cyclonic storm Vardah over the Bay of Bengal has turned into a "very severe" one.
Cyclone Vardha
India TV News Desk Chennai December 11, 2016 21:05 IST

Authorities on Sunday sounded an alert in Andhra Pradesh and adjoining Tamil Nadu as cyclonic storm Vardah over the Bay of Bengal has turned into a "very severe" one.

Cyclone Vardah's severe cycle is around 450 km east-north-east of Chennai and is likely to make landfall north of Chennai in the afternoon or evening of December 12.

Holiday declared for schools, colleges and to be closed in Puducherry, Karaikal and Cuddalore district.

Meanwhile, the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) is all geared up to carry out relief operations.

"In preparation for the relief efforts of very severe cyclone Vardah, the Eastern Naval Command has assumed high degree of readiness to render necessary assistance," said an Indian Navy statement here.

"All operational ships have been readied and kept on standby to undertake humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operations, including evacuation, should the situation demand," the Indian Navy said.

The ships are embarked with additional divers, doctors, inflatable rubber boats, integral helicopters and relief material that include food, tentage, clothes, medicines and blankets, among other things, in quantities sufficient to sustain over 5,000 people.

"Additionally, 30 diving teams with Gemini boats and four platoons with additional relief material are ready to be pressed into action at a short notice," the navy said.

The Eastern Naval Command is closely monitoring the developments and the Flag Officer - Tamil Nadu & Puducherry Naval Area is in constant communication with the sate administration to augment rescue and relief operations.

Naval aircraft are also standing by at the naval air stations at Rajali and Dega to undertake reconnaissance, rescue, casualty evacuation and air drop of relief material to the stranded.

"The intensity of Vardah may not be as high as Hudhud, which battered Visakhapatnam in October 2014. Nevertheless, we are taking all precautions to minimise the damage, if any. We are taking the help of ISRO to track the cyclonic progression and accordingly we are taking all necessary emergency measures," Andhra Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said. 

"We have kept four teams of National Disaster Response Force ready,” he added.

On Friday, the forces evacuated over 2,300 tourists, including a dozen foreigners, by air and sea from Andaman & Nicobar islands, which was hit by the cyclone.

(With IANS inputs)

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