The Andhra Pradesh Government has put Collectors of all coastal districts on alert and ordered evacuation of 64,000 people from low-lying areas from north coastal Andhra districts as the cyclone, Phailin, lay centred 450-500 km off Visakhapatnam.

Revenue Minister N. Raghuveera Reddy reviewed the situation with Disaster Management Commissioner T. Radha and other officials here on Friday morning.

He said that the cyclone Phailin is expected to cross the coast by Saturday evening between Gopalpur in Odisha and Kalingapatnam in Srikakulam district after intensifying into a very severe cyclone with a speed of 205 km to 215 km per hour.

The wind speed could even touch 230 km, he said quoting IMD sources.

While crossing the coast, heavy to heavy rains upto 25 cm were expected with the tidal waves reaching upto three meters.

In view of the seriousness of the forecast, the Coatal District Collectors were instructed to initiate measures immediately for evacuation of people from low lying areas.

“The Collectors are on the job. About 40,000 people in Visakhapatnam, 2,000 in Srikakulam and 4,000 people in Vizianagaram are being evacuated today itself,” he said.

He said army, navy and NDRF teams were already deployed in these districts.

The Phailin cyclone is expected to be as severe as the 1999 super cyclone in intensity.

In the last 124 years, the State was hit by cyclone 74 times and October, the most cyclone prone month for the State, State faced cyclone fury 30 times so far and Phailin will be the 31st cyclone.

The Minister said that revenue staff, departments officers, field officers already reported for duty and the special officers appointed by the Government reached respective districts.

Most of the fishermen who ventured into the sea returned and the return of another 30 boats of fishermen is expected by Friday evening.

Replying to a question, he said 850 cyclone shelters were in functional condition and people from low-lying areas were being shifted there. The shelters are located at every one km distance along the coast, he said.

Mr. Raghveera Reddy appealed to people not to panic but cooperate with the Government in following all the precautions suggested by the government.