Cyclone Vardah: Congress Party stands firmly with Chennai, Tamil Nadu, says Sonia Gandhi
New Delhi [India], Dec. 12 (ANI): With Cyclone Vardah making a landfall near Chennai, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday said that the entire party stands with the people of Chennai and Tamil Nadu and pray as the city braces itself to withstand the force of nature's fury.
Gandhi, in her message, said she is sure the people of Chennai and Tamil Nadu will show the nation the same courage with which they faced a similar calamity last year.
"As Cyclone Vardah crosses the coast and hits Chennai, we watch anxiously and pray as the city braces itself to withstand the force of Nature's fury. We trust the Administration will take all precautions for the safety of the citizens during this time of hardship," she said.
"I am sure the people of Chennai and Tamil Nadu will show the nation the same courage with which they faced a similar calamity last year. Entire Congress Party stands firmly by them," she added.
In the wake of cyclone Vardah, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has advised the fishermen not to venture into the sea during the next 36 hours.
The chief minister said that food and other essential commodities have been kept ready in adequate quantities.
Naidu is monitoring the situation through teleconference with top officials.
Meanwhile, all operations at the Chennai airport have been suspended till 3 p.m. today.
The Indian Navy said a survey ship has been kept on standby to undertake harbour survey in case of requirement.
"Naval aircraft also standing-by at the Naval Air Stations Rajali and Dega to be pressed into action to augment HADR operation," the Navy added.
About 22 diving teams have been kept on standby at Visakhapatnam for immediate deployment.
As many as 19 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam earlier in the day reviewed the state government's preparation to counter Cyclone Vardah.
The chief minister also requested the people not to venture out of their houses between 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The state government has reportedly evacuated at least 7,357 people to 54 relief centres.
As per sources, seven army columns have been placed on standby to carry out rescue and relief operations.
The latest bulletin released by the Meteorological Department said the cyclone is likely to move west wards and weaken gradually while moving towards north Tamil Nadu and adjoining south Andhra coast and is likely to cross the coasts, close to Chennai as a cyclonic storm with a wind speed of 80 to 90 kmph to 100 kmph by this afternoon.
At the time of the landfall, squally wind warning has been predicted for Thiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts of Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh. (ANI)