Relief work on in cyclone-hit coastal Andhra

Hyderabad, May 22 (Calcutta Tube) Relief work was in full swing in the cyclone-hit areas of coastal Andhra Pradesh Saturday as water levels started receding and the rains became less intense.

The threat for the coastal region was over Friday when Cyclone Laila weakened into a depression in the Bay of Bengal. However, the official machinery remained on alert as the weather office forecast rains in the region over the next 12 hours. Isolated rains were continuing in some parts of the coast.

Officials of various departments Saturday launched relief operations, especially in the worst-hit Praksam district, where some parts of Ongole town and dozens of villages remained marooned.

According to officials in disaster management department, 300 army personnel were shifting people from flooded areas and distributing food and water packets. NGOs like the Indian Red Cross and Unicef were also extending assistance in relief operations in Ongole.

Over 70,000 people still remained in 300 relief camps. There have been complaints of lack of food, water and other basic amenities in some camps.

As many as 111 stationary and 24 mobile medical teams were working in the affected areas to provide relief to victims and prevent epidemics.

Heavy rains and gales over the past three days due to cyclonic storm Laila in Bay of Bengal left a trail of destruction in south coastal Andhra, killing 27 people and damaging infrastructure and crops over thousands of acres.

According to preliminary reports, 172 houses were fully and 265 houses partly damaged.

The cyclone has damaged agricultural crops over 11,351 hectares and horticulture crops over 7,949 hectares.

The heavy rains and strong gales damaged roads and railway tracks and disrupted electricity and communication system. Over 100 trains have been cancelled during the last two days but railway authorities were confident of restoring the services by Saturday evening.

Chief Minister K. Rosaiah will make an aerial survey of the cyclone-hit areas later in the day.

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