Super cyclone heading towards TN, AP ?

HYDERABAD: Heavy rains continued to lash different parts of the State, in particular the Coastal districts, on Wednesday, taking the toll to 25 and causing extensive damage to crops.

Making matters worse, a low pressure area over south Andaman in the Bay of Bengal is likely to intensify into a depression in the next 24 hours.

The Meteorological Department says the low pressure may also intensify further into a cyclonic storm and move west-north westward towards north Tamil Nadu and south Coastal Andhra Pradesh.

The State received heavy to very heavy rainfall during the past four days at an average of 142 mm. In fact, the six coastal districts received a deviation ranging from 935 per cent to 559 per cent from actual and normal rainfall between Oct 30 and Nov 2.

Leaving nothing to chance, Chief Minister K Rosaiah directed his ministers to rush to their home districts and supervise relief and rescue operations.

He also asked the district administrations to be on alert for the next 48 hours to meet any eventuality.

Speaking to reporters, Rosaiah said he will conduct an aerial survey of the rain-affected areas in East Godavari, West Godavari and Krishna districts on Thursday. He will also land in one or two places if possible. “I was supposed to meet UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi today but cancelled the meeting and returned to Hyderabad in view of the dangerous situation prevailing in the State. All measures are being taken to ensure minimal damage,” he assured.

The Chief Minister also requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to direct a Central team which is visiting the State to estimate the flood damage caused in September this year, to tour the flood-affected areas where heavy rains wreacked havoc in the past four days. Stating that crops in thousands of acres were inundated due to heavy rains, the Chief Minister said crop loss would be assessed only after the water receded.

The State government has alerted the Army and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to meet any contingency.

About 9,694 houses were damaged and 27,676 people evacuated from flooded areas.

The State Government has set up 110 relief camps in the districts of East Godavari, West Godavari, Visakhapatnam, Nellore and Prakasam. Initial estimates put the crop damage at 2.83 lakh hectares in addition to flooding in 87,390 hectares of agricultural land.

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