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Coastal Andhra escapes ‘Fani’ fury

Coastal Andhra Pradesh escaped the fury of extremely severe cyclonic storm ‘Fani’, which hit Odisha coast near Puri on Friday, officials said.

Though the cyclone had an impact on 700 villages in north coastal Andhra, the calamity passed off without causing any loss of life or major property damage.

The cyclone triggered heavy rains in parts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam districts. Srikakulam district bordering Odisha witnessed the maximum impact.

The gusty winds speeding up to 140 km per hour uprooted trees and electricity poles, affecting power supply and road transport.

Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu told reporters after a review meeting in the state capital Amaravati that 733 villages were affected and restoration works were completed in 408 villages by Friday evening.

Naidu said the cyclone damaged horticulture crops on 783 hectares. Details of crop losses were being gathered from the affected villages.

Naidu said the officials undertook restoration works including clearing of roads on a war-footing in the affected villages. According to initial estimates, the state suffered damages worth Rs 10 crore.

The officials so far restored 182 mobile phones towers. Works were on to restore electricity supply in the affected villages.

The authorities had opened 232 cyclone relief centres and the medical camps. Naidu said over 1.14 lakh people in affected areas were provided food prepared at the kitchens operating under Mid-Day Meal scheme for schools. The people will be supplied food till total normalcy was restored.

Srikakulam district collector J. Nivas said three houses were damaged due to the winds but there was no loss of life. He said people from coastal villages were evacuated to safe places as a precautionary measure.

Indian Railways cancelled about 100 trains between Visakhapatnam and Howrah on Friday and Saturday.

Authorities have also cancelled 22 flights from Visakhapatnam Airport.

According to Real Time Governance Society (RTGS) officials, Kanchili Mandal’ in Srikakulam district received the highest rainfall of 19 cm.

As rains could cause floods in Vamsadhara, Bahuda Nagavali rivers, the officials have alerted living in villages on the banks of these rivers.

Naidu lauded RTGS saying their forecast about the movement of the cyclone was accurate and it helped in issuing alerts to the authorities concerned and people from time to time.

The chief minister said since Odisha bore the brunt of Fani’ he spoke to his Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik on Thursday and Friday. RTGS also provided cyclone alerts and other related information to Odisha.

The Chief Minister said RTGS tracked the cyclone ever since it was formed in the Bay of Bengal on April 27. The officials used communication system effectively and with close monitoring and timely alerts, the officials could take necessary steps to prevent losses.

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