Navy rescues 11 fishermen, Andhra coast on high alert

Navy rescues 11 fishermen, Andhra coast on high alert

An Indian Navy helicopter Thursday rescued 11 fishermen trapped in the Bay of Bengal as the official machinery in the coastal Andhra geared up to face the severe cyclonic storm "Thane", which is set to hit the northern Tamil Nadu coast Friday morning.

All nine coastal districts, especially three districts in south coastal Andhra and Chittoor district in Rayalaseema region, went on  high alert as weather office has forecast heavy to very heavy rains  and strong gales at many places under the impact of the severe cyclone.

Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation Minister N. Raghuveera Reddy said here that district collectors were directed to take all measures to minimise loss of life and damage to property. The government deputed four Indian Administrative Service officers to the districts of Nellore, Guntur, Prakasam and Chittoor to supervise rescue and relief operations.  

Rains accompanied by strong winds have already started to lash some areas in south coastal Andhra while strong tidal waves along the coast have washed away fishing boats, uprooted trees and damaged roads.

The personnel of Eastern Naval Command rescued 11 fishermen who were stranded on their boat in the high sea. Officials said the fishermen from Kakinada were rescued with the help of a helicopter and were brought to Visakhapatnam.

Raghuveera Reddy said efforts were on to rescue eight other fishermen stranded in the rough sea. He said a majority of 72 missing fishermen have returned home Thursday.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a "red" alert -  which stands for a very severe cyclone - for north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra coasts. According to an IMD bulletin, the very severe cyclonic storm lay centered about 180 km southeast of Chennai Thursday evening and is likely to move westwards and cross north Tamil Nadu coast between Nagapattinam and Chennai, close to Puducherry around early Friday morning.

Extensive damage to thatched roofs and huts, and minor damage to power and communication lines due to uprooting of large trees is expected, officials said. The escape routes may also be flooded.
The storm is expected to damage the standing rice, groundnut and maize crop in coastal districts of Tamil Nadu and rice and groundnuts in coastal Andhra Pradesh.

Third warning signal was hoisted at all ports off the Andhra coast while rain accompanied by strong gale began lashing Nellore and Srikakulam districts in the morning, officials said. Commissioner of disaster management T. Radha has requested the commandant of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) based at Mangalagiri to keep the force ready for movement at the request of the district collectors.

Panic prevailed among people living along the coast due to rough conditions in the sea. Sea water gushed in up to 50 metres in some  coastal villages in Krishna, East Godavari and Srikakulam districts.
For the second consecutive day, the beach road between Uppada and Kakinada was inundated by high tidal waves.  

Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, who was on a visit to Delhi, reviewed the situation with Chief Secretary Pankaj Dwivedi over phone and directed him to alert all district collectors.

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