Cyclone Vardah, which left behind a trail of destruction in Tamil Nadu killing at least 18 people, has destroyed properties of worth over Rs 6,700 crore (USD 1 billion), industry body ASSOCHAM said today.
“The hurricane-strength storm caused by cyclone Vardah uprooted trees, overturned cars and caused extensive damage to buildings, besides it has also significantly hit agricultural sector, destroying banana plantations, papaya groves, rice paddies and others thereby causing widespread destruction worth up to $1 billion,” said DS Rawat, secretary general of ASSOCHAM.
“Local Fishery trade, poor supply of power and supplies due to logistics crunch in both urban and rural areas, extensive damage to crops due to incessant rains, loss of livestock, damage to private property, problems in ferrying passengers and transporting goods owing to cancellation of flights, trains, road blockades may significantly hit the region’s economy,” Rawat said.
“Though total cost of damage resulting from output lost as a result of disruption to economic activity and the cost of rebuilding homes and infrastructure, remains unclear, arriving at a clearer assessment could be reached within a couple of months’ time,” he further said.
ASSOCHAM also appealed to its members and industrialists to come to the aid of thousands of people evacuated following the devastation caused by Vardah.
“ASSOCHAM has recommended the industry both in the public and private sectors to set up rapid response units under the aegis of their respective CSR (corporate social responsibility) divisions to collect donations to provide vital supplies (food, clothing, beds, blankets and other essential relief items like tarpaulins, water purification equipment and medicines) for people who have been evacuated and shifted to relief shelters,” Rawat said in a press release by ASSOCHAM.
The cyclone is also expected to impact the tourism industry of southern India, especially in Tamil Nadu which accounts for a good 10 per cent share in total investments attracted by hospitality sector across India, he added.
ASSOCHAM has also appealed to the insurance industry to constitute special teams to expedite settlement of claims of people hit by the cyclone.
Eighteen people were killed in six districts of Tamil Nadu in rain-related incidents linked to Vardah that crossed the coast.
Chief Minister O Panneerselvam held a meeting of top officials today to speed up work to ensure return of normalcy in storm-hit regions.
The government said it is taking all steps to ensure that the jammed mobile phone networks are restored and a meeting of telecom operators and officials was held.
"A total of 18 persons were killed in rain-related incidents linked to Cyclone Vardah," a top Tamil Nadu government official monitoring the situation told PTI.
He said five each were killed in Chennai and Tiruvallur districts. Four persons died in Kancheepuram district, one each in Villupuram and Nagapattinam districts and two in Tiruvannamali district, the officials added.