Chennai cyclone Vardah rains
Rescue members cut a tree that fell on a road after it was uprooted by strong winds in Chennai, on December 12 2016.Reuters

At least 18 people died due to Cyclone Vardah in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur until Tuesday. About 10,000 electric poles fell and 100 transformers got damaged when the cyclone hit Tamil Nadu, causing around 50 percent of the affected areas to remain in darkness.

Since the cyclone caused a lot of damage to property, restoring power and making cash available for the public posed a major challenge, the Indian Express reported. Schools and colleges were asked to remain closed for the third day.

"We have a stock of electric poles and some transformers. We (have) made arrangement to get more transformers from Karnataka," the newspaper quoted a minister as saying. Hundreds of workers from the electricity board in Tamil Nadu worked overtime and restored 30 percent of electricity by Tuesday afternoon.

ATMs across the state have also been affected due to the cyclone, adding to the woes of the people, who are already facing inconvenience due to demonetisation. Banks have asked the government to restore ATM services as soon as possible.

"Almost all the ATMs in the city remained dead on Tuesday evening. Banks said they have been helpless for more than a week as there is hardly any currency for supply," an official told the daily.  

Telecommunication channels also faced technical damage, causing services to be disrupted. However, BSNL services for mobile phones and internet remained unaffected in several locations. "Only BSNL services have sustained the disaster. All private service (providers) are still repairing their cellphone towers or struggling to get diesel to run their generators as they did not prepare for it," the newspaper quoted an IT official as saying. 

The city police and municipal workers worked all night and cleared the roads for traffic. Train, flight and bus services have resumed in Chennai.