Seven dead in AP as Cyclone Helen hits coast

Cyclone is likely to affect second ODI of India vs WI

dinesh-akula

Dinesh Akula | November 22, 2013




At least seven persons died in cyclone-related incidents in Andhra Pradesh minutes before Cyclone Helen hit the coast today. The storm, intensifying into a severe cyclone from a deep-depression over Bay of Bengal hit Machilipatnam in Krishna district at 1.30 pm.

The cyclone is likely to affect the second one-day international cricket match between India and the West Indies, scheduled to be played at Visakhapatnam on November 24. Earlier, the Met department has warned of a storm surge of about 1 to 1.5m height that could inundate the low-lying areas of West and East Godavari, Krishna, Guntur and the adjoining areas of Prakasam district. Around 25,000 people have been evacuated from low-lying areas, reports Associated Press quoting an official.

Fishermen, too, have been warned against venturing into the sea. Authorities have hoisted warning signals at all ports along the state's coast. Teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have already been moved to Nellore and Prakasam districts. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has also rushed six teams to the region. The weather department has clarified that Helen's intensity would be "much less" than cyclone Phailin, which slammed into the Odisha coast on October 12, bringing in its wake torrential rains and wind speeds of over 200 kilometres per hour in the state and in north coastal Andhra Pradesh.

At least four persons including two women died in separate incidents of tree and wall collapses in East Godavari district. The two women perished after the wall of their house caved in Katrenikona mandal. A giant coconut tree coming down took the toll of another woman in Kothapet mandal. The death of another person was reported following a house collapse in I Polavaram mandal. A man identified as Veerababu went missing and is presumed dead in the union territory of Yaanam. In Seethannapalli of Krishna district, a person identified as Kantha Rao died after a coconut tree came crashing down on him. As Cyclone Helen hit the coast, the districts of East and West Godavari are bearing its brunt. Earlier gusty winds with gale force and speeds of up to 100 kms were sweeping across these districts.

Hundreds of trees besides telephone and electric poles are being uprooted, causing severe disruption to communication networks and snapping road links. Heavy rains are also lashing these districts. Besides these, heavy rain fall is also expected in Krishna, Guntur, Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam districts as well in the next 36 hours. A control room to monitor the situation has also been opened at the state secretariat in Hyderabad. The control room numbers are 040-23456005, 23451043.

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