Cyclone Michaung wreaks havoc as heavy rains lash Andhra coastal districts
Gusty winds with speeds of 90 kmph to 110 kmph lashed the coastline and the storm is expected to gradually weaken.
Severe cyclonic storm Michaung, which made landfall near Bapatla in Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday afternoon, triggered torrential rains and left a trail of destruction in at least six coastal districts, causing extensive damage to the standing crops and disrupting the transport and communication networks, officials said.
Gusty winds with speeds of 90 kmph to 110 kmph lashed the coastline and the storm is expected to gradually weaken, an official of the state’s cyclone warning centre said.
Very heavy rains lashed Chittoor, Nellore, Prakasam, Guntur, Bapatla and Krishna districts while the India Meteorological Department (IMD) officials warned of heavy rains across the coastal and Rayalaseema regions over the next 24 hours. West Godavari and Konaseema districts also received heavy rains on Tuesday afternoon.
Officials said that trees and electric poles were uprooted at several places in the coastal region and relief teams are engaged in clearing them. “Standing crops in thousands of acres have been damaged,” an official of the agriculture department said.
The state government has deployed 50 special teams in Bapatla alone to take up cyclone relief measures.
People from low-lying areas have been shifted to relief camps set up at schools and government office buildings in the district. Over 1,350 people in Bapatla district have been relocated to 27 relief camps as a precautionary measure.
Bapatla district collector P Ranjit Bhasha instructed officials to visit 111 villages where the impact of the cyclone was very severe. Meanwhile, agriculture department officials are conducting field visits to inspect crop damage. The people in coastal areas, including Repalle, Vemuru, Bapatla, and Nizampatnam, are instructed not to venture out.
The sea turned rough in Suryalanka in Guntur district, with 2-metre-high waves hitting the coast. The sea also surged by a few metres in coastal areas, including Bapatla, Repalle, and Nizampatnam, due to the cyclone’s impact, weather department officials said.
Meanwhile, a 35-year-old police constable of the 11th Battalion, identified as Satya Kumar, died in Bhakharapeta of Kadapa district when an uprooted tree fell on him while he was going for work on his motorcycle, officials said.
There were reports of extensive damage to agriculture and horticulture crops in Tirupati, Nellore, Kadapa, Prakasam, Bapatla, Krishna, NTR, and Konaseema districts. Besides paddy, horticulture crops like bananas suffered damage.
Chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy held a review meeting and directed the officials to ensure that there was no loss of life and also to minimise damage to properties.
The officials informed him that 9,500 people were shifted to 211 relief camps in coastal districts as a precautionary measure. He directed the energy department to restore power connectivity at the earliest, and officials were instructed to extend relief aid to people in relief camps within 48 hours. He also directed them to engage village volunteers for enumerations of losses due to the cyclone, said a communication from the CMO.
Meanwhile, the South Central Railway has announced cancellation of 305 trains in the coastal Andhra region between December 2 and 8 and diversion of 11 trains to other routes, a release said. The air traffic has been closed at the coastal city of Visakhapatnam due to heavy rains.
As part of the relief operations, the state government procured 97,000 tonne paddy on Sunday while 650,000 tonne has been moved to safe storage locations. As many as 181 relief camps have been set up. Five NDRF and five SDRF teams have been deployed in the eight districts. Each family sheltered at relief camps would be given ₹2,500 while returning home and individuals would be given ₹1,000 to compensate for loss of livelihood. The families would also be given 25 kg of rice, pulses, palm oil, onions, and potatoes.