NDRF teams at work in Kakinada

The Kakinada coast on Monday. DH PHOTO

Heavy rains and gail due to the Phethai cyclone have lashed the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh on Monday leaving vast tracts of farmland inundated and at least three dead in related incidents.

Traffic, air, rail and roadways have come to a grinding halt in the coastal districts. Mobile communication in six coastal districts has been affected with several cell towers getting damaged due to the cyclonic winds.

In Prakasam district, three old people died due to the prevailing cold weather that began as a result of the Phethai cyclone in the past three days.

Duddu Venkatamma (73), Nune Kumari (60) and an unidentified old man, aged 65 years, died. Revenue officials are ascertaining the facts. Meanwhile, rains have damaged thousands of acres of agricultural lands in Krishna district.

Power supply to Kakinada city was shut and fishermen were asked to stay away from the sea when the Cyclone Phethai touched the coast near Kakinada after noon on Monday.

The Andhra Pradesh government has declared a high alert in 350 villages and declared holidays for schools.

The movement of all fourteen flights from the Visakhapatnam airport was stopped and airport authorities are struggling to cater to the needs of 750 passengers stranded at the airport.

The South Central Railway has cancelled 47 passenger trains and express trains such as Janmabhumi, Simhadri and Venkatadri.

APSRTC has also cancelled all bus services in the affected districts. Many trucks and long distances freight trains are stranded in different places and it is said that it will take a day or two to set right the traffic if the rains stop.

The port city of Kakinada and the entire East Godavari district bore the brunt of the cyclone with the streets and low-lying areas inundated by the incessant rains that lashed the port city.

Several trees and electrical poles were uprooted in the Gail winds that thrashed the city.

A 'No.5' warning has been issued and a search was initiated for six fishermen from Dummulapet in Rural Kakinada who went missing while on high sea off the Kakinada coast.

However, the government succeeded in bringing back 348 fishing boats sailing with the fishermen safely.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu, who has been monitoring the rescue operations from Amaravati, was in touch with the district collectors of Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, East Godavari and nodal officers.

He asked collectors to entrust the responsibility of each village to an officer and see that there is no human or cattle loss in any coastal village.

In all, 10,000 electric poles have been kept ready. In addition to NDRF and naval aircrafts from INS Dega and INS Rajali, around 1,000 policemen and 10,000 state government staff were involved in the rescue operations.

In Telangana, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao cancelled his visit to the Kaleshwaram project due to inclement weather and monitored the situation from his official residence Pragathi Bhavan.

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