Andhra faces cyclone threat, 20 killed in rains (Second Lead)By IANS
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
HYDERABAD - Andhra Pradesh is facing the threat of a cyclonic storm while heavy rains in the coastal region have claimed 20 lives and damaged crops in over 100,000 hectares, officials said Tuesday.
Nearly 400,000 people were affected, dozens of villages and residential areas in several towns remained inundated as rains under the influence of a trough of low pressure over Bay of Bengal and vigorous northeast monsoon caused havoc in north and south coastal districts.
Over 26,000 people were evacuated from low-lying areas in four districts while the authorities alerted the armed forces for possible deployment.
At least 20 people were killed in rain-related incidents in the last three days, according to the disaster management department.
East Godavari and Visakhapatnam districts accounted for six deaths each. Two people each were killed in Nellore, Prakasam and Anantapur. One death was reported from West Godavari and Chittoor districts each.
Four people were missing in East Godavari.
T. Radha, commissioner for disaster management, said 228 mandals (village blocks) in six districts were affected.
Officials said 763 villages were affected. East Govadari district is the worst hit with 585 villages affected of which 341 are inundated.
Authorities have evacuated 26,577 people and opened 92 relief camps in the four districts of East Godavari, Visakhapatnam, Nellore and Krishna.
As many as 31,392 houses were submerged, over 30,000 in East Godavari district alone. More than 5,000 houses were fully or partially damaged in six districts.
Initial estimates show agriculture crops in 2,73,340 hectares and horticulture crops in 4,289 hectares were damaged in eight districts.
The state government has requested the army, navy and air force to be ready for deployment of forces if necessary, the chief minister’s office said.
More misery could be in store for coastal Andhra as it also faces the threat of a cyclonic storm.
The Visakhapatnam Cyclone Warning Centre Tuesday forecast that depression in the Gulf of Thailand may intensify into a cyclonic storm. It is likely to hit the coast between south coastal Andhra and north Tamil Nadu in two to three days.
“A depression which currently lies over gulf of Thailand is likely to move and emerge into south Andaman sea during the next 12 hours. It is likely to intensify further into a cyclonic storm and move towards north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh coasts,” said the India Meteorological Department.
Under its impact, heavy to very heavy rainfall has been forecast over coastal Andhra and Andaman and Nicobar Islands till Thursday.
Strong gales with a speed of 45 to 50 kmph were already blowing along the coast. As the sea remained rough, authorities have warned fishermen against venturing into the sea.