Six teams of the National Disaster Response Force are being deployed in four coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh as cyclonic storm 'Helen' is expected to cross the Bay of Bengal coast near Kavali on Thursday evening.
Heavy to very heavy rainfall up to 25 cm is expected in Nellore and Prakasam districts while heavy rainfall is likely in Guntur and Krishna districts of south coastal AP, according to state Disaster Management Commissioner C Parthasarathy.
"The deep depression in the Bay of Bengal last (Tuesday) evening turned into a cyclonic storm this morning. It is expected to cross the coast near Kavali between Sriharikota and Ongole tomorrow (Thursday) evening. Under the impact, heavy rains are likely from this evening," Parthasarathy told reporters on Wednesday.
The impact would be mainly in Nellore and Prakasam districts while adjoining Guntur and Krishna too would experience heavy rainfall.
While the wind speed would range between 55 and 65 kmph on Wednesday, it may increase to 100 and 120 kmph on Thursday, the commissioner said.
"We are deploying two NDRF teams each in Nellore and Prakasam districts and one each in Guntur and Krishna to handle rescue and relief operations. We are also deploying fire services personnel in Nellore and Prakasam to assist police and other departments. Our target is to ensure zero casualties and also prevent destruction of properties," he added.
Fishermen have been asked not to venture into the sea. Joint collectors of the four districts have been directed to camp in vulnerable coastal villages and closely monitor the situation.
Chief Secretary P K Mohanty spoke to the collectors of the four coastal districts and asked them to remain alert, the commissioner said.
Image: Fishermen tie their boat along the shore before leaving for a safer place at Donkuru village in Srikakulam district, Andhra Pradesh
Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters