Cyclone damages infrastructure, crops in Andhra Pradesh

By Mohammed Shafeeq, Hyderabad, Oct 13 : Andhra Pradesh was spared the fury as cyclonic storm Phailin crossed the east coast Saturday night without any major loss of lives but damaged infrastructure and crops in Srikakulam district.

Relief work was in full swing in the affected areas in north coastal Andhra while authorities swung into action to restore electricity and communication lines and reopen the damaged roads and railway routes.

Commissioner disaster management T. Radha said one man died in a wall collapse in Srikakulam, the only north coastal Andhra district from three to suffer damage.

Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam districts remained largely unaffected.

The cyclone, which brought heavy rain and strong winds with speed reaching up to 200 km an hour, inundated a few villages and damaged houses and crops in Srikakulam district

The district remained without electricity Sunday as a number of electricity towers were toppled by the strong winds.

Communication towers were damaged in large numbers while fallen trees on the roads disrupted traffic.

The commissioner said electricity supply in Srikakulam district would be restored in two days.

According to preliminary estimates, 70 houses were damaged.

Paddy crop was inundated in 7,115 hectares while maize crop in over 100 hectares. Sugarcane crop spread over 100 hectares was too damaged. Coconut trees in 3,219 hectares were uprooted.

Nineteen teams of the National Disaster Response Force with 40 personnel each have been deployed for relief work.

Over 500 soldiers, including engineers, communication specialists and medical teams, were also pressed into service.

More than 1.34 lakh people were evacuated from 294 villages in Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam districts during the last two days.

Officials said they were shifted to 125 relief camps. In Srikakulam district alone, 80,000 people were shifted from 237 villages to 56 camps.

All 30 camps in Visakhapatnam were closed and 24,000 people left for their homes Sunday.

Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, who reviewed the situation in Hyderabad, said the state was spared from a predicted huge damage.

He asked offficials to distribute 10 kg of rice to each fisherman's family. An estimated 422 tonnes of rice will be distributed among 42,279 families.

Revenue Minister N. Raghuveera Reddy visited some of the affected areas in Srikakulam district. He said a comprehensive report on damages would be sent to the central government.

--IANS (Posted on 13-10-2013)

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