One person was killed in Vijayawada as Cyclone Phethai made landfall in Katrenikona in Andhra Pradesh’s East Godavari district a little after noon on Monday, multiple reports said. The cyclone hit the area at 12.17 pm, The Times of India reported.
Durga Rao, a 40-year-old resident of Christurajanpuram, died when a boulder pierced the roof and hit him in the head when he was sleeping. The district collector has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 50,000 for his family, the Hindustan Times reported.
Heavy rains lashed Katrnikona, Allavaram, Uppalaguptam, Rajolu, Sakhinetipalli and Amalapuram. District Collector Kartikeya Mishra said that according to the cyclone warning centre in Visakhapatnam the storm has weakened. Restoration work has already started in villages affected by the cyclone.
The Regional Specialised Metropolitan Centre said in its 5 pm bulletin that the storm would move northeast off Kakinada coast in the next two hours and cross the Andhra Pradesh coast near Tuni late at night as “a deep depression”.
“It will continue to weaken gradually,” the weather department said. “It will maintain the intensity of cyclonic storm during the next two hours and weaken into a deep depression during subsequent six hours.”
The South Central Railway cancelled more than 50 trains because of the cyclone, The Hindu reported.
Sixteen teams of the Andhra Pradesh Disaster Response and Fire Services were kept on standby at Rajamahendravaram, and another five were posted in West Godavari district. A helicopter was kept ready for emergency operations along Kakinada coast, The Times of India reported.
Naval aircraft were put on standby at INS Dega and INS Rajali stations. The Eastern Naval Command was also asked to prepare to conduct rescue and relief operations. Naval aircraft flew 11 sorties over the east coast on Sunday to warn fisherpeople out at sea of the impending cyclone, The Times of India said.
On Sunday, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu held a teleconference with collectors of four districts to discuss their preparedness for the cyclone. The state government has declared high alert in the coastal districts of Guntur, Krishna, West Godavari, East Godavari, Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam, the Hindustan Times reported. Schools will remain closed in these districts on Monday and Tuesday.
On Monday, Naidu asked ministers K Narayana Rao and Kaluva Srinivasulu to monitor relief works in East Godavari. Ministers NMD Farooq and Amarnath Reddy will take care of rescue and relief in Visakhapatnam, The Times of India said.
Paddy farmers in Krishna, West Godavari and East Godavari districts have harvested the crop and kept it ready for sale. The government has asked the civil supplies department to operate paddy procurement centres the whole day, so that the produce is bought quickly.