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Indian Navy on alert as cyclone Gaja set to make landfall in Tamil Nadu today

A fishermen parks his boat at fishing harbor as a part of precautionary measures in view of cyclonic storm ‘Gaja’, in Chennai. Photograph:( PTI )

ANI Ramanathapuram, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India Nov 15, 2018, 09.20 AM (IST)

Indian Navy has been put on high alert with cyclonic storm Gaja set to make landfall in Tamil Nadu today afternoon.

"The Eastern Naval Command(ENC) has assumed high degree of readiness to render necessary humanitarian assistance. Two Indian Naval ships Ranvir and Khanjar are standing by to proceed to the most affected areas to undertake Humanitarian Aid Distress Relief (HADR), evacuation, logistic support including providing medical aid," an official statement said.

"These ships will be embarked with additional divers, doctors, inflatable rubber boats, integral helicopters and relief material that include food, tentage, clothes, medicines, blankets etc," it added.

Additionally, aircraft from Naval Air Stations Dega, Rajali and Parundu and Water Jet FACs and patrolling boats from naval detachments in Ramnad and Nagapatnam have been warning fishing vessels about the approaching cyclonic storm and directing them to return to the nearest harbour.

The ENC is also monitoring developments closely and flag officer commanding Tamil Nadu and Puducherry naval area have been in constant communication with the state administration to augment rescue and relief operations.

"One P8I aircraft, Dornier aircraft and helicopters are also standing by to undertake reconnaissance, rescue, casualty evacuation and air drop of relief material to the stranded," the statement further noted.

Cyclone Gaja is expected to make a landfall between Pamban and Cuddalore today by afternoon.

In an attempt to mitigate potential damage, the state administration headed by chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami has planned to evacuate around 20,000 people residing on the coastal line and moving them to relief camps.

On Wednesday, Cuddalore district collector V Anbuselvan, who visited the possible affected areas, said all private and government schools in Cuddalore would remain closed due to the cyclonic storm.

Apart from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh is also bracing for the impact of the cyclone which is likely to bring heavy downpour and strong winds to several parts of the region for the next couple of days.