Heavy rain, storm pound Andhra Pradesh

Heavy rain, storm pound Andhra Pradesh

Heavy rain combined with blowing gales induced by cyclone Phailin battered Andhra Pradesh even as the state witnessed a never-before seen evacuation with the shifting, many forcibly, of about one lakh people from the north coastal districts of Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam and Vizianagaram.

Trees were uprooted, blocking roads in Srikakulam and disrupting movement of rescue vehicles. Winds of 180 km speed were reported from Srikakulam district where 20 villages were inundated. While huts were washed away by advancing waves, landfall cut the district off from the outside world.

Power supply to most of the eight mandals in Srikakulam district, particularly Kalingapatnam, was snapped. In Vizianagaram, fishermen tried in vain to save their boats and nets as the receding waves took them into sea.

The deafening sound of huge waves and downpour presented a devastating scenario in Vizianagaram minutes after landfall. In Visakhapatnam city, entry was banned to the Ramakrishna beach as sea water entered into beach road and many slums abutting sea were inundated.

The impact of Phailin was also felt in East Godavari and West Godavari districts. The sea was rough and restless in Krishna, Guntur and Prakasam districts. The East Godavari district administration was shifting fishermen from Uppada and Kakinada areas to the cyclone special control rooms set up at safer places in Kakinada, Ramachandrapuram and Amalapuram towns to monitor the situation. In Uppada, 70 feet of the shore has been inundated.

Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy who was reviewing the situation from the Secretariat, urged people to help authorities by evacuating people from low-lying villages falling in the path of the cyclone.

Reddy said all departments were on alert forrescue and relief work. Ministers and special officers in the coastal districts were monitoring the situation. Revenue minister Raghuveera Reddy will be camping in Visakhapatnam to oversee rescue and relief operations.

At least 500 Army personnel were deployed on Saturday in the north coast of the state. The troops, equipped with motor boats, life jackets and medicines, were moved to the coastal districts of Srikakulam and Visakhapatnam to assist the authorities in relief, rescue and evacuation operations.

The Army, Navy, Air Force and the National Disaster Response Force were ready to take up rescue work. Army helicopters at Visakhapatnam airport and rescue boats on the coast were kept on standby. 

Thanks to the precautionary measures, only 22 of the 23,000 fishing boats in the state were reported to be in the sea and their whereabouts was unknown. All the fishermen were reported to be safe.

Officials said food and drinking water packets were stored for relief operations. Medical teams along with medicines were deputed to the relief camps. The Bhubaneswar-Mumbai Konark Express, which was scheduled to leave from Bhubaneswar was partially cancelled and departed from Samalkot.

The Secunderabad-Bhubaneswar Visakha Express, which left Secunderabad, was partially cancelled between Vizianagaram and Bhubaneswar.

The Bhubaneswar-Secunderabad Visakha Express, which was scheduled to leave Bhubaneswar, was partially cancelled between Bhubaneswar and Vizianagaram.

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