Andhra faces cyclone threat, 16 killed in rains (Lead)

November 2nd, 2010 - 8:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, Nov 2 (IANS) The threat of a cyclonic storm looms large over Andhra Pradesh while heavy rains in the coastal region have claimed 16 lives and damaged crops in over 100,000 hectares, officials said Tuesday.

Dozens of villages and residential areas in several towns remained inundated as rains 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 16 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 five deaths each. Two people each were killed in Nellore and Prakasam. One death was reported from West Godavari and Vijayanagaram districts each. Six people were missing in East Godavari.

T. Radha, commissioner for disaster management, said 227 mandals (village blocks) in six districts were affected.

Authorities have evacuated 26,574 people and opened 70 relief camps in the four districts of East Godavari, Visakhapatnam, Nellore and Krishna.

As many as 23,710 houses were submerged, over 22,000 in East Godavari district alone. More than 4,000 houses were fully or partially damaged in six districts.

Initial estimates show agriculture crops in 99,730 hectares and horticulture crops in 3,661 hectares were damaged.

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.

The state faces a threat of a cyclonic storm.

The Visakhapatnam Cyclone Warning Centre Tuesday forecast that depression in the Gulf of Thailand will reach south Andaman Sea by Tuesday evening and 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.

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.

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