Cyclone Nivar, which intensified into very severe cyclonic storm before it slammed into India’s southern coast on early Thursday, led to the death of five people and uprooting of hundreds of trees and power lines in the region.
But for the residents of Andhra Pradesh, it wasn’t just bad things: The aftermath of Cyclone Nivar resulted in what can only be described as a ‘gold rush.’
Locals from Udappa, a village near the coast, rushed to the beach in East Godavari to collect gold on Saturday, which was believed to have washed ashore in the area after the high tide due to Cyclone Nivar, reports India Today.
Local fishermen had initially found glittering gold filings along with small beads of the precious metal on the beach. As the news of the gold spread, hundreds of people rushed to Uppada braving the cyclonic rain to test their luck. Some locals told The Times of India that about 50 people got gold worth about Rs 3,500 each.
Photos of the gold emerged on social media.
Local legends had it that ancient temples got submerged under the sea over time and eroded, and the ruins of those washed up on shore during high tide after the landfall of Cyclone Nivar.
“It is customary in these parts to bury small gold beads or particles during foundation laying ceremony for houses and temples. As old buildings collapsed under the impact of sea erosion, the gold particles must have been got carried into the sea along with the debris. Cyclone Nivar has overhauled the sea. In the process, some of the gold particles must have landed on the beach from the ocean bed,” local assistant sub-inspector Lovu Raju told TOI.
Raju also told The Hindustan Times that a few houses and a couple of old temples on the coast had been washed away during the last month’s heavy rain and some of them might have lost small pieces of gold.
Revenue officials will visit the village to conduct a first-hand assessment soon.
After the landfall, Nivar weakened into a cyclonic storm and further into a deep depression by the afternoon. Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to the chief ministers of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and assured them all possible help from the Centre.
The cyclone led to snapping of overhead electricity cables in a few places and Chennai residents also complained of internet outages. Low lying neighbourhoods in Chennai, including those in suburban Irumbuliyur, Mudichur and Urapakkam, witnessed flooding and water entered the houses of many residents.
Rescue personnel ferried cooked food to the people using inflatable boats. The residents of some of the affected areas shifted to the homes of their relatives, while others continued to stay put battling the odds. Airport operations, Metrorail and bus transport, which were suspended due to the cyclone, resumed during the day.
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