Cyclone Laila Causes Concern In Eastern Coast of India

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Media Reports
Bellevision Media Network


Hyderabad, 19 May 2010: Several places in Andhra Pradesh began experiencing heavy rainfall  and strong winds in the wake of the severe cyclonic storm, named as Laila, that lay in the Bay of Bengal, about 180 km off the Chennai coast. V. Prasad Rao, a weather official in the southeast state of Andhra Pradesh, warned that Laila was predicted to intensify before hitting the coast near the city of Machilipatnam with wind speeds of up to 125 kilometres per hour. "We have passed on information to state authorities to warn fishermen not to go out into the sea and to evacuate people from low-lying coastal areas. This is being don e," Rao told  the media.

The weather department in its latest warning said a "storm surge" of up to two metres (six and a half feet) above the regular tide was likely to inundate parts of coastal Andhra Pradesh. It warned of "high to phenomenal" sea conditions and the possibility of extensive damage to huts and power and communication lines.

 "The focus is on evacuation now. People are advised to keep important documents and valuables ready and be prepared to move to shelters at short notice," said Marri Sashidhar Reddy, an official at the National Disaster Management Authority. Dinakar Babu, a senior disaster official in Andhra Pradesh, said that besides existing cyclone shelters, schools and community halls had been identified to serve as potential relief camps to evacuees. Authorities were preparing helicopters and boats to be ready for any emergency, he added.

Danger signal 7 has been hoisted in all the sea ports in Andhra Pradesh and fishermen strongly cautioned against venturing into the sea. Revenue officials began evacuating people from all villages considerable vulnerable to inundation by high waves and heavy rainfall. So far, ten people have been killed due to collapse of sheds or after being struck by lightning.

An unspecified number of fishermen who put out to sea in over 100 boats from this region on Monday are missing even as strong winds lashing coastal Tamil Nadu under the influence of cyclone "Laila" claimed one life near here, officials said on Wednesday. 

Fishermen of Pamban, Uchipuli and nearby areas who ventured into sea on May 17 night in boats with outboard motors were missing, fisheries department officials said. 

It was not known how many fishermen were onboard these boats which were not capable of withstanding the impact of cyclonic wind and rough sea, they said adding a search was on to locate them. 

India and Bangladesh are hit regularly by cyclones that develop in the Bay of Bengal between April and November, causing widespread damage to homes and fields when they hit land. Last May, Cyclone Aila tore through southern Bangladesh killing 300 people and destroyed 4,000 kilometres of roads and river embankments, leading to major flooding.About 200,000 people were made homeless and many remain in temporary shelters.

According to a TV report in the evening at 5.15 pm on Wednesday, 19th May, 2010, the Cyclone Laila is likely to cross the Andhra Pradesh Coast by the early morning of Thursday, 20th May 2010. The government of Andhra Pradesh is gearing up for any eventuality that would be caused by Cyclone Laila.


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