8 killed in rains as AP counts its losses from Helen
At least 8 people were killed and crops in 1.69 lakh hectares damaged under the impact of cyclone Helen even as the depression caused by it weakened into a low pressure area over coastal Andhra Pradesh on Saturday.
Paddy crop, which was in final stages, was the worst hit with damage caused in 1.69 lakh hectares in West Godavari, East Godavari, Krishna and Guntur districts, officials said.
The cyclone, which crossed the state on Friday night, led to heavy rains and high speed winds, causing extensive damage, just over a month after Andhra Pradesh was struck by another storm ‘Phailin’ Damage caused by the last month’s natural disaster is still being assessed.
As many as 21,283 persons from the four coastal districts, who were evacuated from vulnerable villages, have been put up in 93 relief camps, according to State Disaster Management Commissioner C Parthasarathy.
He said two persons each were killed in rain-related incidents in Krishna and East Godavari and one each in Srikakulam and West Godavari.
Three boats with 20 fishermen that were stranded in Bay of Bengal off East Godavari district returned to the shore safely late on Friday night.
The Commissioner said 10 teams of National Disaster Response Force were engaged in rescue and relief operations in Krishna, Guntur, West Godavari and East Godavari.
Four helicopters of the Indian Air Force have been kept ready for rescue operations whenever required, he added.
The latest bulletin from the Met office here said the depression slightly moved west-southwestwards and weakened into a low pressure area over coastal Andhra Pradesh and neighbourhood early on Saturday morning.
Rainfall would occur at many places over coastal Andhra and Telengana during the next 12 to 24 hours, it said.
Meanwhile, power restoration works in cyclone-affected areas have been taken up on a war footing, officials said.
Mohan Krishna, Superintending Engineer of Andhra Pradesh Southern Power Distribution Company (APSPDCL), said in Vijayawada that power restoration works are going on in the cyclone-hit areas of Krishna district.
Electric poles have been uprooted at several places and wires snapped due to falling of trees, he said.
Power was restored in Machilipatnam, the district headquarters, late last night, while the exercise will be completed in other areas by this evening or tomorrow morning, he said.
Meanwhile, many parts of Krishna district are witnessing heavy rain since yesterday. As many as 8,334 people from vulnerable areas were shifted to 42 camps, officials said.
District Collector M Raghunandana Rao and senior IAS officer B.R. Meena, deputed by the state government, are monitoring rehabilitation and rescue operations.