No loss of lives reported as ‘Laila' crosses the coast off Bapatla

Tidal waves lashed the Suryalanka beachfront in full fury keeping the district administration on tenterhooks as the cyclonic storm ‘Laila' crossed the coast off Bapatla late on Thursday afternoon.

The coastal mandals of Bapatla, Nizampatnam and Repalle experienced continuous and heavy rainfall since Wednesday accompanied by gales. The overnight downpour inundated several low lying areas.

With the waves rising menacingly to a height of 1.5 to 2 metres and wind speeds touching 100-120 kmph, revenue and police officials had a tough time in evacuating people.

Though the storm passed off without causing any loss of lives, it left a trail of destruction in the coastal hamlets of Suryalanka, Muttayepalam, Nizamapatnam and Pittalavani Palem.

Normal life was paralysed as strong gales uprooted trees and dismantled electric poles. Electric supply was switched off on Wednesday night and was not restored in many places today.

Water advances

The sea water advanced to a distance of 20 metres, quite close to the Government Tourism resorts but receded after the storm crossed the coast. Police cordoned off the entire beach front.

Eateries hit

The approach road was breached in the morning and several roadside eateries lay in tatters as surging waves crashed into them.

Over 50 fishermen and their families were forcibly evacuated to an adjacent guest house.

Local people said that the sea had never been so rough. “I have seen the Tsunami striking the coast in December 2004, but that passed off within minutes. This was scary,” said Pitta Hymavathi, who spent the entire night with her ailing father in their thatched hut. But some like Yesumani were not as lucky as the tidal waves left her shop damaged. “I was forced to leave at 8 p.m. last night. When I returned at daybreak, there was nothing,” she wailed. She had invested Rs.50,000 on her eatery and had bought a refrigerator.