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Cyclone Helen hits AP coast; 2 dead,crops damaged

The West Godavari district is said to be the worst-hit in terms of crop damage.

Two persons were killed and crops in 1.5 lakh hectares were damaged in Andhra Pradesh today under the impact of cyclonic storm Helen,which has now weakened into a “deep depression”.

The two persons died in separate rain-related incidents,disaster management commissioner C Parthasarathi said.

Coastal districts of East Godavari,West Godavari and Krishna bore the brunt of the heavy rains and gale winds. National Disaster Management Authority Vice-Chairman M Sasidhar Reddy,who reviewed the situation tonight,said the damage was mainly in Machilipatnam division in Krishna district,Amalapuram division in East Godavari district and Naraspuram division in West Godavari.

Crops in about one lakh hectares,ready for harvest,was damaged in West Godavari district. Standing paddy and horticulture crops like banana and coconut were damaged in East Godavari district,he said. Trees and electric poles fell in several areas. The highest rainfall of 7.3 cms was reported at Allavaram in East Godavari.

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Noting that Cyclone preparedness had improved substantially this time,Reddy said about 20,000 people were evacuated to safer places.

Two boats with 14 people aboard reached the shore safely and another boat with seven people remained stranded on high seas. Coast Guard was doing rescue operations. Ten teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been pressed into service. Four helicopters are ready at Hakimpet in Hyderabad and a chopper each would be moved to Vijaywada and Visakhapatnam tomorrow.

Reddy said he had been seeking change of norms for providing help to farmers in such a way that the stage of crop at the time of damage is taken into consideration.

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Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy reviewed the situation with top officials,official sources said. He spoke to the Collectors of coastal districts and directed the senior officials to evacuate people and provide essential items like food and medicines to them.

‘Helen’ crossed Andhra Pradesh coast near south of Machillipatnam between 1330 and 1430 hrs today with a wind

speed of 80-90 kmph. Moving west-south-westward,it weakened into a deep depression and lay centred at 1730 hours today over coastal Andhra Pradesh around 60km southwest of Machillipatnam.

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It would move west-southwestwards and weaken into a depression during next six hours,official sources said. Official bulletin said isolated to heavy to very heavy rainfall would occur over north coastal Andhra Pradesh and adjoining Guntur,Krishna,West Godavari districts of south coastal Andhra Pradesh during the next 24 hours.

Rainfall at many places with isolated heavy falls would occur over Telangana during next 24 hours. Moderate rainfall would occur at many places over south Odisha during next 12 hrs,it said.

First published on: 23-11-2013 at 14:03 IST
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