Hyderabad: Cyclonic storm Phailin, which crossed the south Odisha coast Saturday night, caused widespread damage to infrastructure and crops in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh and claimed one life.
The cyclone, which brought heavy rain and strong winds with speed reaching up to 200 km an hour, left a trail of destruction in the district bordering Odisha. There was some impact in Vizianagaram district while Visakhapatnam district escaped the fury.
Commissioner disaster management T. Radha said one person died in a wall collapse in Srikakulam district.
People in north coastal Andhra heaved a sigh of relief with the cyclone turning weak and the intensity of rains and winds also coming down since Sunday morning. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has withdrawn its cyclone warning for Andhra Pradesh.
According to IMD, the system lay centred near Phulbani in Odisha. It would move northwards and weaken gradually into a deep depression by Sunday evening.
Srikakulam district remained without electricity Sunday as a number of electricity towers were toppled by the strong winds. Communication towers were also damaged in large numbers while fallen trees on the roads cut off access to many towns and villages. Hundreds of vehicles were stranded on the national highway connecting Srikakulam to Odisha.
The commissioner said electricity supply in Srikakulam district would be restored in two days.
Coconut trees standing on hundreds of acres of land were uprooted while other crops were also damaged. Officials said enumeration of damage to houses, crops, roads and railway tracks was on.
The district authorities, however, remained on alert against floods due to heavy rains in the catchment areas of Vamsadhara and Nagavali rivers. The Met Office has forecast more rainfall during the next 24 hours.
Several places in Srikakulam district recorded heavy rainfall since Saturday. The rain fall was 19.8 cm in Ichapuram, 15.4 cm in Kaviti, 14.7 cm in Kothahali, 10.7 cm in Sompeta and 10.8 cm in Kothabommali.
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams and the district administration swung into action to provide relief in the affected areas. Nineteen teams of NDRF with 40 personnel each have been deployed for relief work.
Over 500 Army personnel, including engineers, communication specialists and medical team, with all equipment including boats were also deployed. Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy Sunday reviewed the situation and relief measures with top officials in Hyderabad.
More than 1.29 lakh people were evacuated from 294 villages in Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam districts. Officials said they were shifted to 115 relief camps. In Srikakulam district alone 85,000 people were shifted from 237 villages to 56 camps.
Over 1.20 lakh food packets and 4.30 lakh water packets were distributed in the relief camps in Srikakulam and Vizianagaram district. As Visakhapatnam district was not affected by the cyclone, all 16 camps were closed and 24,000 people left for their homes Sunday.
The state had deputed special officers to all nine coastal districts to supervise rescue and relief work. With the cyclone affecting only Srikakulam district, the other officers were returning to the state capital.
An official statement said Rs.220.89 crore received from the central government under State Disaster Response Fund are available for temporary relief, rescue and restoration operations of immediate nature.
BSNL has opened an emergency helpline to trace the missing persons, if any. The relatives of a missing person can telephone toll-free number 1949 and give the cell phone number of the missing person. Then BSNL will give the location of the last call made from that cell phone.