As the deep depression over the Bay of Bengal intensifies into Cyclone Phethai, the Andhra Pradesh government is gearing up as the storm is expected to make landfall between Ongole and Kakinada on Monday afternoon.
Following a review meeting by Andhra Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and Chief Secretary Anilchandra Puneta, AP State Disaster Management Authority officials have stepped up its monitoring of the cyclone. According to an official statement from APSDMA, district collectors of Vishakapatanam, East and West Godavari, Krishna and Guntur were instructed to review the preparedness.
The state Fisheries Department and Director of Ports and officials across coastal districts were instructed to prevent fishermen from venturing into the sea. Mandal revenue officers in coastal districts were also directed to take necessary and precautionary measures.
Following the consultation with APSDMA, SDRF (State Disaster Response Force), NDRF(National Disaster Response Force) and AP Fire Services officials have strategically deployed the forces in cyclone prone districts.
Vishakapatanam district was allotted with two teams of SDRF, consisting of as many as 80 members and three teams of NDRF consisting of 90 members. All the forces were kept on stand by in the district.
East Godavari was given two teams of SDRF with 80 members, two teams of NDRF with 60 members along with sixteen teams of Fire Services for electricity line clearing. Each team will consist of 5 members. Another six teams from Fires Services will oversee rescue operations, while another sixteen teams ARE reserved in Rajamundry to move as per the situation.
West Godavari is also deployed with two teams of SDRF consisting of 80 members and two NDRF teams with 60 members and four teams of fire services with boats, life jackets, portable pumps and lights for search and rescue operations. Along with nine team of Fires Services (5 members) is allocated for road clearance.
Krishna and Guntur districts were deployed with two SDRF teams consisting of 80 members and two NDRF team consisting of 60 members along with fire services teams meant for road clearance and rescue operations.
According to officials four teams of NDRF have also been kept on stand by in East Godavari while one is kept on standby in Guntur headquarters.
Meanwhile, officials in Prakasam district have already started relocating the people from vulnerable areas to safer places. As many as 14 mandals have been alerted about the cyclone. Prakasam district collector Vadarevu Vinaychand has issued orders directing officials to evacuate people from the low-lying areas, particularly pregnant women, children, women and persons with disabilities, to safer areas.
The Electricity Department is also making arrangements to deal with the situation. APSDMA officials are working with Real Time Governance Centre in Amaravati to get the latest updates on the situation.
1100 toll free number will be used for passing cyclone cautions.
Earlier in October, Cyclone Titli caused massive damage in Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts. In Srikaulam alone 18 mandals of 9 lakh people were affected, causing huge loss to agriculture and horticulture.
The AP government estimated the loss in agriculture to be pegged at Rs 802 crore while the figure for horticulture is Rs 1,000 crore. Homes worth Rs 220 crore were also said to be destroyed by the cyclone.