The Cyclone Burevi – now a weakened deep depression at 8:30 am on December 4 – is expected to further weaken into well marked low pressure (WMLP) over the next 24 hours.
The cyclone has remained stationary over the past several hours in the Pamban region since December 3, and has brought incessant rainfall to the delta districts and the Western Ghats. Karaikal district in the Union Territory of Puducherry also continued to receive heavy rain over the past 24 hours.
The district of Cuddalore received continuous rainfall for the past 48 hours, and sea water has breached the shores and entered a few fishing hamlets in Mayiladuthrai district. Fourteen teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed in different districts.
The ‘samba’ paddy crop and sugarcane, ready for yield in the next two to three weeks – close to the harvest festival of Pongal – have suffered severe damage in Tiruvarur district.
While the northern districts suffered crop losses during Cyclone Nivar, Burevi has damaged crops in the delta districts, while flooding parts of the northern districts as well. Three deaths have been reported so far: two girls drowned to death in Kancheepuram while a daily-wage worker was electrocuted in Chennai.
Many districts in the northern part of the state, including Chennai, have also received rainfall, leading to water stagnation in parts of the city. Fishing boats in coastal villages, including Ramanathapuram and Vizhupuram, also suffered damage.
The government of Tamil Nadu announced a holiday on December 4 for the southern districts – Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli, Tenkasi, Ramanathapuram, Virudhunagar and Thoothukudi – as a precautionary measure. Moderate to heavy rains are expected in these districts in the next 24 hours, with the southern districts of Kerala too expecting the same.
The residents of low-lying areas and fishing hamlets were moved to relief camps on December 2. Around 490 camps were set up to accommodate 1.92 lakh people in the southern districts. However, these districts were lesser affected when compared to the delta districts.
In Cuddalore district, where public transport has been suspended, more than 35,000 people were moved to relief camps by the early hours of December 4.
Cyclone Burevi was expected to make landfall on the night of December 3, but has remained stationary for several hours. The depression has brought heavy rainfall in the delta districts with paddy and sugarcane crops being affected.
V. Subramani, state president of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) said: “Due to the heavy and continuous rainfall, more than 1.5 lakh acres of paddy crop has been submerged under water in Tiruvarur district. If the samba crops remain under for two days, which is highly probable given the forecast, the farmers will suffer a huge loss. The harvest festival will be reduced to a season of sorrow for the farmers.”
The sugarcane crop in Cuddalore and Thanjavur districts has also been affected. Farmers, who were getting ready for harvest during the festival of Pongal, and for the sugar mills, are now facing the same fate that the paddy cultivators are faced with.
“The sugarcane crop is not covered under the insurance scheme and hence the state and union governments should announce relief for the affected farmers. As far as the paddy crop is concerned the government should ensure early disbursal of insurance money,” said Subramani. The district of Nagapattinam could also suffer crop damage, with the rain water from Thanjavur and Tiruvarur to flow through the district over the next couple of days.
Major rivers in Thiruvarur and Thanjavur districts are fast breaching their banks, while the Veeram lake in Cuddalore is brimming with water. The condition of rivers in Tiruchi and Perambalur is the same while allegations of sand mining and encroachment of river banks are said to be the reason for the rivers overflowing.