Amaravati: The severe Cyclone Michaung is poised for landfall by the Bapatla coast of Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday. Cyclone Michaung is looming over west-central and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal, off the coasts of south Andhra Pradesh and adjoining north Tamil Nadu. It lay 80 kilometres southeast of Nellore, 120 kilometres north to northeast of Chennai, 210 kilometres south of Bapatla and 250 kilometres south to southwest of Machilipatnam.
It is likely to move northwards parallel and close to the south Andhra Pradesh coast and cross between Nellore and Machilipatnam, close to Bapatla during the forenoon of Tuesday as a severe cyclonic storm with wind speeds reaching up to 110 kilometres per hour, the Amaravati Meteorological Centre said.
According to a statement from the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister's Office, the weather system is expected to persist till Thursday and thereafter become a deep depression and subside.
Cyclone Michaung wreaked havoc in the Chennai city and its suburbs on Monday, bringing heavy rains leading to flooding. Five rain related deaths were reported in the Chennai city, the police said on Monday.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday spoke to the chief ministers of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry on the situation arising due to Cyclone Michaung and assured them of all necessary central help. Shah also said adequate deployment of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel has already been made and additional teams are ready for further assistance.
Alert in 8 districts
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Monday directed officials to be on high alert for taking up relief measures. In view of the heavy rain lashing Andhra Pradesh under the influence of the severe cyclonic storm, the state government issued an alert for eight districts -- Tirupati, Nellore, Prakasam, Bapatla, Krishna, West Godavari, Konaseema and Kakinada -- while the chief minister set several relief efforts in motion.
In a review meeting at his camp office, Reddy directed the officials to treat the storm as a major challenge to avoid loss of life and property as the winds are expected to blow gales reaching speeds of up to 110 kilometres per hour.
"Special officers have been appointed for all cyclone-affected districts, besides releasing Rs 2 crore each for rescue and relief works. The special officers will work in close coordination with the collectors and, if more funds are needed, the government will comply with the request," Reddy said in a release.
Crops to be procured and saved
The officials have been directed to focus on safeguarding crops, especially by procuring paddy and saving the kharif harvest. Until Sunday, up to 97,000 tons of paddy has been collected while 6.5 lakh tons of paddy moved to storage locations with instructions to manage the moisture content.
Reddy directed the officials to procure all types of discoloured and wet paddy from farmers, along with educating them on safeguarding their crops that are yet to be harvested.
He called for an enumeration of the crop loss immediately after the cyclone recedes.
Meanwhile, the evacuation process of the people affected is underway and 181 of the 308 required relief camps have been opened. Reddy instructed the officials to prioritise the safe transportation of pregnant women, lactating mothers and the elderly, and to monitor the spread of communicable diseases. Five National Disaster Response Force and an equal number of State Disaster Response Force teams have been deployed in the affected districts.
Further, the chief minister directed the special officers to focus on the medical, food and drinking water needs of the evacuees. While returning from the relief camps, officials have been directed to handover financial assistance of Rs 2,500 per family and Rs 1,000 in case of individual evacuees.
For severely affected thatched houses, Reddy directed the officials to distribute an aid of Rs 10,000.
Additionally, food rations of 25 kilogramme rice, along with pulses, edible oil, onions and potatoes will be distributed to the evacuees.
By 6 pm on Monday, Kakinada had logged rainfall of 25 mm, Machilipatnam (28 mm), Nellore (76 mm), Ongole (34 mm), Tirupati (64 mm), Kavali (66 mm), Narasapuram (39 mm) and Tuni (20 mm), among others.
Tirupati Airport Director KM Basavaraju told PTI that all flights, 14 scheduled and one non-scheduled, were cancelled on Monday due to the inclement weather. Due to the incessant rain, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams has temporarily barred devotees from the holy bath at the Sri Kapilathirtham falls.
(With PTI inputs.)