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HindustanTimes Wed,20 Aug 2014

Andhra Pradesh Phailin updates: heavy damage feared, train services suspended

KV Lakshmana, Hindustan Times  Srikakulam, October 12, 2013
First Published: 11:52 IST(12/10/2013) | Last Updated: 15:28 IST(13/10/2013)

Life in Andhra Pradesh started returning to normal after Cyclone Phailin made landfall on Saturday evening. The wind speed came down considerably, and rainfall ceased to be a threat as well. No loss of life has been reported from the state so far.

Cyclone Phailin, the most powerful storm India has faced in more than a decade, battering vast areas of Odisha and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, packing winds at a speed of over 200kmph.

Post Phailin updates:

Relief and rescue

  •  NDRF has summoned five more units and is heading towards Kalingapatnam and Ichapuram to assess and start relief and rescue. It will then go to areas reporting maximum damage.

  •  First rescue mission of NDRF will be in village Bendi where approximately 50 people are stuck. The entire village was inundated.

  •  NDRF is facing difficulties in carrying out rescue operations due to uprooted trees blocking roads and villages being submerged in water. 

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Phailin after effects

  •  40-60% of famous coconut plantations like those in Uddanam, Kaviti, Kanchali, Sompeta and Ichapuram, spread over 1 lakh acres, have been damaged by strong winds.

  •  Many maize and banana plantations are submerged in water and if they continue to remain so they will be completely damaged.

  •  Power of entire Srikakulam town was switched off around 10 as a precautionary measure. Efforts are underway to restore electricity in the state.

  •  Other than that, for Srikakulam its business as usual and everything is back to normal. No deaths have been reported from Srikakulam so far.

  •  The outer areas, towards the coast have suffered maximum damage.

  •  Towns closer to Gopalpur - Kalingapatnam, Barua, Makua and Ichapuram - are the ones affected the most.

  •  Heavy damage is feared in Kalingapatnam and Ichapuram, several hundred thatched roofs feared destroyed.

  •  Train services have been suspended.

  •  Power outage has been reported in the entire coastal region. Many cell phone towers, electricity poles have also fallen.

  •  People are having a hard time commuting, since roads are blocked by trees uprooted due to heavy winds.

  •  Hundreds and hundreds of semi-pucca houses have been damaged.

  •  Five to six villages are currently submerged in water.


The affected areas had experienced heavy rain till early in the morning, with wind speed between 180-200kmph till about 3am.

The damage could've been very extensive but because of timely and more than adequate measures it was avoided. Loss to personal life was also minimised. In its first press address after the cyclone, the Indian Meteorological Department declared the it has been successful in meeting its zero-casuality target.

Highlights from IMD's press address:


What happened on Saturday

Weather conditions

  •  Heavy rains accompanied by strong winds lashed most parts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and coastal villages like Vajrapurkottur, Kaviti, Domkur and Barua.

Preparedness

  •  As many as 1,29,100 people from 294 villages in Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam districts were shifted to 115 relief camps.

  •  Nineteen NDRF teams, five columns of Army with engineers, communication specialists and medical teams were kept ready. Naval and Coast Guard services, and BSF and CRPF personnel, who were already assisting the local administration in view of the Seemandhra agitation, were also kept on standby, in case of emergency.

  •  In Srikakulam and other coastal districts, officials traveled on road, warning people not to leave their home.

  •  As a precautionary measure, electricty supply had been stopped in the cyclone affected areas.

Initial impact

  •  Trees were uprooted, cellphone towers collapsed, electric poles twisted and thatched huts were flown away.

  •  Inundation of villages from Srikakulam to Ichapuram was the first impact of the storm even before it officially made a landfall.

  •  The entire village of Bendi close to Ichapuram, where a group of 50 doctors and nurses were stuck, submerged completely.

  •  NDRF chief of Andhra Pradesh operations, Prashant Dhar, said relief and rescue operations would begin early Sunday morning.

  •  Out of 22,994 fishing boats in coastal districts, only 22 remained in sea and have not reached the shore yet.
 
  •  All flights to and from Visakhapatnam, Bhubaneswar were cancelled.

  •  All trains in the north coastal Andhra districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam were cancelled as a precautionary measure.

  •   Andhra State road transport corporation employees returned to work after 70 days.


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