May 20, 2010 12:14:30 am
The countrys biggest gas field and two oil refineries are directly in the line of Laila,the fierce tropical cyclone that is hurtling towards the Andhra coast with wind speeds that are expected to touch 125 km per hour. The cyclone is expected to make landfall between Nellore and Kakinada,close to Machilipatnam Thursday morning. Wind speeds are expected to reach 95 km to 125 km per hour when the cyclone hits.
Reliance which has its gas and oilfield in the Krishna-Godavari basin has temporarily suspended its oil pumping operations. Officials said due to precautionary closure of operations in the oilfield temporarily,there would be a break in production.
The Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited near Vizag and the Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited on the Tamil Nadu coast are bracing for the cyclone. The cyclone was centered 150 km from Chennai and 350 km from Machilipatnam in Krishna district on Wednesday evening.
We have issued a red alert in East and West Godavari,Krishna,Guntur,Nellore and Prakasam disrtricts. At least 50,000 people from the low lying areas have been evacuated so far and the process is still on, T Balasubramaniam,Special Commissioner,Disaster Management,said.
The Hyderabad Centre of India Meteorological Department has warned of gale force winds with maximum speed reaching 115-125 kmph along and off Andhra Pradesh coast at the time of landfall. Squally winds reaching 50-60 kmph are likely along and off north Tamil Nadu coast during next 24 hours. There will be widespread rainfall with scattered heavy to very heavy falls and isolated extremely heavy falls over coastal Andhra Pradesh during next 36 hours and in north Tamil Nadu during next 24 hours.
The IMD has also warned of a storm surge with tides reaching 1.5 to 2 metre above the normal tide level likely to inundate the coastal areas of Guntur,Krishna and East and West Godavari districts at the time of landfall.
The state government has warned that telecommunication and power lines may be uprooted affecting operations and has advised citizens living close to the coast to remain indoors for the next 24 hours.
Minister for Revenue,Relief and Rehabilitation D Prasada Rao said people living in low-lying areas were being evacuated on a war-footing and that disaster management teams and relief workers had been stationed at various places.
Centre sends disaster force
NEW DELHI: Anticipating a flood situation due to cyclone Laila,the Centre has decided to deploy 438 personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in Andhra Pradesh.
Sixty four inflatable boats and collapsed structure search and rescue (CSSR) equipment are also being deployed in Vishakhapatnam,Vijaywada,Machalipatanam,Guntur,Prakasam and Nellore.
The National Disaster Management Authority has issued instructions for the movement of two companies each from NDRF in Mundali and Arakkonam with CSSR and rescue equipment. ENS
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