'Cyclone Laila' cripples life in coastal Andhra, Tamil Nadu

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Hyderabad / Chennai, May 19 (ANI): Heavy to very heavy rains have devastated large coastal stretches of north Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

Cyclone "Laila" may have brought respite to the people from the sweltering heat, but has caused massive damage elsewhere.

Cyclone Laila lay over the Bay of Bengal, about 180 kilometers off Chennai.

According to the Visakhapatnam-based Cyclone Warning Centre, "Cyclone Laila" was moving in a North-West direction towards Andhra Pradesh and is likely to cross the coast anywhere between Ongole and Visakhapatnam by Thursday morning.

Strong winds at a speeds of between 65 to 70 kilometers per hour have been lashing the region since Tuesday night, uprooting trees and damaging electricity and communication towers in some districts.

The authorities have flagged danger signal seven in all sea ports and fishermen have been strongly cautioned about venturing out to sea.

People have been evacuated from low-lying areas as a precautionary measures in both states.

Rescue teams from National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have reached Vijayanagaram, Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam, East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna and Guntur district which are receiving heavy rains since morning.

Nellore, Prakasam, and some parts of Rayalaseema and Telangana regions are also experiencing rains.

According to Met Department officials, the Cyclone Laila would bring widespread rainfall with scattered heavy to very heavy falls and isolated extremely heavy falls during the next 48 hours in north coastal Tamil Nadu and coastal Andhra Pradesh.

Authorities cautioned that the rainfall is expected to be as much as 25 cm while the wind-speed is likely to be 115-125 kmph.

The rescue teams have evacuated over 10,000 people from Andhra Pradesh Coast.

So far, ten people have been killed due to collapse of sheds or after being struck by lightning.

Meanwhile, initial reports suggests that over 150 electric poles have been collapsed in Ananthpur District causing extensive disruption of power supply, while 40 boats were damaged in Visakhapatnam District.

Roads were inundated in Nellore, Gudur, Kavali and other towns as there was a continuous downpour.

Meanwhile the Andhra Pradesh Government has opened over 120 relief camps.

The Andhra Pradesh Government has asked district collectors to use helicopters, if necessary, for rescue and relief operations. (ANI)

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