Massive evacuation of people to be taken up in four mandals of Guntur district

The Very Severe Cyclone Lehar, which turned into Severe Cyclone with winds gusting up to 120 kmph, is likely to make its landfall on Thursday afternoon near Machilipatnam, giving a sigh of relief to people giving scope for better preparedness.

The Lehar was nearly 520 km East South-East Machilipatnam by Wednesday evening. “Two Indian Army teams are kept ready for post-cyclone activities, apart from deployment of 10 disaster response teams, including five National Disaster Response Force teams in the strategic locations,” said Krishna Collector M. Raghunandan Rao.

The services of Indian Army personnel would be utilised based on the need and post-cyclone conditions, he added. As the state of sea along and off coast was very rough since Wednesday evening, entry to the beach was restricted for visitors and operations at Gilakaladindi harbour were stopped.  

As the tidal waves of about 1 to 2 meters high, would lead to inundation of low-lying areas, evacuation of around 30,000 people have been shifted to relief camps began in nine coastal mandals, covering 55 revenue villages.  

“Voice message on status of the Lehar movement and update of weather conditions were being sent to mobile numbers, operated by the villagers and SHGs, on an hourly basis,” Mr. Raghunandan Rao.

All the drinking water tanks were filled in the strategic villages and power generators were also provided at cell phone network towers to avoid disconnection of networks. As part of post-cyclone mitigation plan, exclusive teams comprising technical staff of the roads, power supply and communications have been formed to restore the services as early as possible, to bring back the life into normalcy.

Schools, including corporate institutions, will remain shutdown on Thursday in the coastal mandal.

With warnings from the Met Department indicating that the district is likely bear the brunt of Cyclonic storm Lehar, the district administration has put its entire machinery at work to meet any eventuality.

Collector S. Suresh Kumar on Wednesday said a massive evacuation effort might be needed as the four coastal mandals of Bapatla, Nizampatnam, Repalle and Karlapalem would be affected severely.

The Revenue Department has identified that 37,755 people in 10,438 households living in areas within 5 k.m. from the coast would be moved to relief camps. On Thursday morning, 8,434 families would be moved to relief camps. The cyclonic system presently stationed at 500 k.m away from Machlipatnam and is slowly moving towards the coast in southern direction and is likely to cross the coast at Machilipatnam on Thursday evening. Squally winds with 150 to 160 kmph are likely to gush across the coast and storm surge of about 2-3 metres above astronomical tide is likely to inundate low-lying areas in the district.

Mr. Suresh Kumar said school and college buildings and some of the cyclone shelters have been identified to provide shelter to the evacuees.

Police, Fire and Emergency Services, Irrigation, R&B, RWS, Municipal Administration Departments have been asked to be on guard. Mandal level officers have been asked to stay back at the offices monitoring the situation.

The Collector also appointed supervisory officers to monitor rescue and relief operations in the coastal mandals. The Medical and Health Department was instructed to procure sufficient medicines and open medical camps at the relief centres and other needy places.

The numbers of control rooms are – Collectorate - 0863-2234070, 2234301, 9849904019. Control rooms are also opened at the four revenue divisional headquarters - Guntur – 0863-2240679, Tenali- 08644-223800, Narsaraopet - 08647-222039 and Gurazala-9849904015.