The Andhra Pradesh government has moved additional rescue teams of the National Disaster Response Force to vulnerable places in the coastal districts of the state despite weakening of cyclonic storm Laila in the Bay of Bengal.
Three persons were killed in heavy rains in Sri Potti Sriramulu Nellore district while two persons were reported missing in Guntur district.
Communication links remained snapped in most parts of Prakasam district, including the headquarters Ongole which received 34 cm of rain in 12 hours since last night.
Chief Minister K Rosaiah told a press conference after a high-level review meeting today that nine Army helicopters have been kept ready for rescue operations even as 31,000 people have been shifted to relief camps in Prakasam, Guntur, Krishna and Godavari districts.
"I spoke to Union Home Minister P Chidambaram twice over phone today and he has assured me that 600-700 more personnel from the NDRF will be sent to the cyclone-hit districts. Already 550 NDRF men are on the job in four districts and 80 boats have also been pressed into service," Rosaiah said.
Though the intensity of Laila has reduced significantly, winds blowing at a speed of 90-95 kmph still remained a cause for concern as it could cause considerable destruction to property, the Chief Minister noted.
Power supply has been totally cut off in 1492 villages and 11 towns in the coastal district due to the impact of the cyclonic storm.
"At many places people are reluctant to move out to safety from their houses. In fact, some fishermen ignored our repeated warnings and ventured into the sea but fortunately so far all have returned safely," Rosaiah said.
However, he said, the respective district authorities were evacuating people from vulnerable places to safety even by using force.
The police have deployed additional personnel from the AP Special Police Battalions for rescue operations in affected districts.
Replying to a question, Rosaiah said the loss to property and crops could be estimated only after normalcy was restored.