Administration gears up to face Cyclone Lehar

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

Fishermen hauling their boat ashore in view of cyclonic storm Lehar, at Ramayapatnam in Prakasam district. —Photo: Kommuri Srinivas
Fishermen hauling their boat ashore in view of cyclonic storm Lehar, at Ramayapatnam in Prakasam district. —Photo: Kommuri Srinivas

With warnings from the Met Department indicating that the district is likely bear the brunt of severe Cyclonic storm Lehar which may cross the coast near Machilipatnam in the next 24 hours, 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.

The West Godavari district administration goes into a tizzy as the `very severe cyclonic storm, Lehar, will move west-northwestwards, weaken gradually and cross the coast near Machilipatnam. Collector Siddharth Jain said the district administration was ready to face the disaster. Addressing mediapersons here on Wednesday, he said the administration had identified 64 coastal villages as ‘vulnerable’ to the latest cyclone. An action plan was drafted for shifting the inhabitants from all vulnerable villages to safer places, he said. He said 123 relief camps were opened at different places for accommodation of the evacuees and buses were also kept ready for their shifting.

The coastal mandals of Narsapur and Mogaltur apart, Mr. Jain said, the other neighbouring delta mandals such as Tanuku, Peravali, Achanta, Veeravasaram, Penugonda, Penumantra, Palakoderu and Undrajavaram were likely to be affected by the heavy gales with speed ranging from 80 to 200 km per hour at the time of landfall. The personnel from the Army and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were being deployed for rescue operations.

Electric saws and poclains were kept ready to restore transport, power and phone communication systems in the event of collapse due to the felling of trees and electric poles due to the impact of gales, the Collector said.

The services of 270 expert swimmers were requisitioned to ensure the safety of people in the low-lying areas and on the sea coast, he added. Efforts were being made to anchor all the fishing boats offshore and wireless sets were put in place in the villages on the coast for free flow of cyclone-related information, he said.

Prakasam district, which escaped the wrath of Helen cyclonic storm last week, is now gearing up to meet any eventuality in view of the severe cyclonic storm. Sending an orange message, weather officials predicted that the system might dissipate as it approaches to the coast.

Joint collector K.Y.Naik reviewed the preparedness along with other district officials. The district administration is fully prepared to handle the situation arising out of the cyclonic storm, according to Mr Naik. Fishermen were asked not to venture into the sea.

One team of the National Disaster Management Force would be stationed here and another team at Chirala for quicker approach to deal with any emergencies in the 11 coastal mandals in the district in the event of Lehar changing direction, he said. Marine police would be deployed in the coastal mandals to assist the mandal administration in rescue and relief operations.

Special officers were appointed to monitor the situation in the coastal villages in coordination with the functionaries at the mandal and village levels.

Students were asked to be shifted to safer places after identifying dilapidated buildings. Irrigation officials were asked to keep tab of all the irrigation tanks for swift response to plug any breaches, he added.



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