The Krishna district administration has been put on high alert with the Meteorological Department indicating that the cyclone ‘Laila' might turn off the coast anywhere between Nellore and Kakinada and possibly at Machilipatnam around 3 a.m. on Thursday.

Even if the cyclone crosses the coast, its impact is expected to continue till the early hours of Friday. Evacuation of people residing along the coast in all the seven mandals of the district was in progress on Wednesday and plans were afoot to shift about 15,000 people residing in 83 villages to 200 relief camps set up on a war footing basis by late on Wednesday.

Strong gales

“The velocity of gales is about 105 km per hour now. It may reach even 155 km per hour by the time the cyclone hits the coast. To mitigate the loss, we are focusing on evacuating people residing about 3 km to 5 km away from the sea shore,” said Peeyush Kumar, Krishna district Collector, while reviewing the arrangements for relief and rehabilitation in the evening.

The focus was more on people residing in semi-permanent and thatched houses, which might get damaged completely due to the gales. Three teams from the National Disaster Management Response Force (NDMRF) descended here with required equipment to rescue people. In most of the low-lying areas, people were reluctant to move over to the relief camps. The NDMRF teams, with the help of the local police and revenue staff, will begin the evacuation by Wednesday evening. Special teams were deployed to evacuate people living in low-lying areas and settle them in the relief camps established in villages along the coastline. Services of HAM radio were being used, as there was every possibility of telecom and electricity lines being disrupted due to the heavy gales. Two district-level officers were dispatched to the seven mandals that faced the cyclone threat. As many as 120 cyclone shelters have been stocked with essential commodities like rice, kerosene and other provisions required to prepare basic meals.

Beach closed for public

The height of tides in the Bay of Bengal was increasing steadily from the morning and the Manginapudi beach was closed for the public. Police teams were patrolling along the coast to prevent public from going close to the sea.