Odisha evacuates 11,600 people as Cyclone Phethai makes landfall in Andhra Pradesh

PTI Amaravathi/Bhubaneswar Dec 17, 2018, 10.52 PM(IST)

(Representative Image) Photograph:( WION Web Team )

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Cyclone Phethai barrelled through coastal Andhra Pradesh on Monday, triggering heavy rains, uprooting trees and electric poles, and claiming one life. 

With Cyclone Phethai making landfall in Andhra Pradesh coast and the IMD forecasting heavy rainfall in the region, the Odisha government has evacuated more than 11,000 people to safety zones.

The cyclone made landfall near Katrenikona in East Godavari district in the afternoon on Monday, packing windspeed that gusted upto 85-90 kmph, uprooting electric poles and trees in Katrenikona, Tallarevu and Malkipuram in the district.

No casualties were reported, though power supply was severely hit in several parts of the district.

"We have evacuated about 11,600 people in Gajapati district as their houses are yet to be repaired after Cyclone Titili in October this year," a senior official at the Special Relief Commissinor's (SRC) office said.

People from seven vulnerable blocks in Gajapati district have been taken to safe places.

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The official said relief camps have been opened and evacuated people are being provided food and other essentials.

"We shifted the people because there is danger in staying in half-constructed houses during the calamity," the official said.

Though the cyclone system has weakened, many districts in the southern region of the state have been experiencing heavy rainfall under its impact.

As per the latest information from IMD, heavy to very heavy rainfall is likely in Malkangiri, Koraput, Gajapati and Rayagada districts.

Besides, isolated places in Gajapati, Ganjam, Rayagada and Kalahandi districts may also experience heavy rainfall, the IMD said.

Many places in Rayagada, Koraput, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Nuapada, Bargarh, Bolangir, Jharsuguda and Sambalpur districts are expected to receive rain, it added.

Meanwhile, farmers in Odisha have been advised to take necessary measures to protect their crops in view of the rain forecast.

One killed in Andhra

Cyclone Phethai barrelled through coastal Andhra Pradesh on Monday, triggering heavy rains, uprooting trees and electric poles, and claiming one life, officials said.
Train and air services were also disrupted because of the cyclone.

East Godavari district bore the brunt of the storm as it made landfall near Katrenikona in the afternoon, forcing evacuation of 20,000 people, who have been sheltered in relief camps.

Howling winds that gusted up to 85-90 kmph uprooted electric poles and trees in Katrenikona, Tallarevu and Malkipuram in East Godavari, disrupting power supply. No casualties were, however, reported.

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A man named R Durga Rao aged 28 was killed when a loosened soil hurtled down a hillock following heavy rains in Vijayawada city, according to sources in the state's Disaster Management Authority.

Krishna district Collector B Lakshmi Kantham announced an immediate relief of Rs 50,000 to the deceased's family.

Deputy Chief Minister (Home) N China Rajappa is camping at Bhairavapalem village in East Godavari district to oversee relief and rescue operations.

The Real-Time Governance Centre (RTGS) at the state secretariat said 'Phethai' weakened into a cyclone after making landfall. It moved towards Kakinada, hitting the town with downpour, before rolling towards Visakhapatnam district, officials said.

Chief Executive Officer of the RTGS Babu Ahamed said pracautionary steps taken by the authorities had minimised damage to life and property.

He said trees were uprooted in some 20 places and rescue teams had cleared the debris in 15. Spare electric poles were kept ready, he said.

The South Central Railway cancelled and rescheduled several trains, while air traffic to and from the port city of Visakhapatnam was hit by turbulent weather conditions. Some flights had to be cancelled or diverted to Hyderabad.

Over 20 express and passenger trains were cancelled, SCR's chief public relations officer M Uma Shankar Kumar said.

An Indigo flight from Bengaluru that was to land in Visakhapatnam on Monday morning was diverted to Hyderabad.

An Indian Airlines flight on way to Visakhapatnam from Hyderabad was sent back, while an Indigo flight from New Delhi was diverted to Telangana capital, according to Visakhapatnam airport director.

A Hyderabad-Visakhapatnam Spicejet flight was cancelled while several others of different airliners were rescheduled.

Educational institutions were closed in coastal districts as a precautionary measure.