The Day After: Cyclone destruction in Puducherry

 The cyclone that started somewhere between South India and Andaman Islands first headed northwards and then on 27th December, took a sharp left turn and headed straight towards Puducherry. It made a slight realignment on its way and finally hit the coast on 30th December morning. Top wind speed was about 140 kms per hour and according to the Chief minister of Puducherry it wreaked unprecedented havoc.

Power was off since the day before and the watchman of my community failed to appear to open the main gate on the cyclone hit morning. Not able to take my bike out due to closed gate and partly to escape to from any possible break or fall of a huge tamarind tree next to my door  and partly to have my breakfast outside, I pushed out my cycle through a collapsed part of a newly built compound wall. It was 8 am and the wind stalled and even lifted the front wheel of my cycle a few inches off the road once in a while forcing me to climb down and push. Closed eateries all the way forced me to pedal right up to Puducherry and the scenes on the way were aweful.

Traffic signal posts had been bent from their base and were doing sarvanga namashkar with their foreheads on the road. Highway near JIPMER was like a virgin forest with fallen leaves and fallen and broken trees.  A huge traffic signboard across a road junction further on had followed the same respectful gesture and ended up blocking traffic on both sides of the four-lane highway.  Signboards of shops and hotels had fallen or blown off and the roads were filled with pieces of glass and tiles that had adorned them. I finally reached Anna Salai and got some biscuits for breakfast from a crowded eatery that had turned into an impromptu petty shop.

I had n’t taken my camera with me and the next day I went around with it shooting the scenes. Bulldozers had been at work meanwhile and the traffic was flowing through most streets and roads, albeit slowly. Please scroll down to see the pics.

Collapsed terrace wall on a staircase – in a school

Terrace stairway roof of the school blown off 50 feet away.

View at Koot Road of a highway to Puducherry