Cyclone kills six, causes heavy crop damage in Andhra

Last Updated: Sat, Nov 23, 2013 16:10 hrs

Hyderabad: Cyclone Helen, which crossed Andhra Pradesh coast Friday, has damaged crops on nearly 3.5 lakh hectares, officials said. They also confirmed six deaths due to the cyclone.

Two deaths each were reported from Krishna and East Godavari districts and one each from Srikakulam and West Godavari districts.

Standing paddy crops in the coastal region, known as rice bowl of India, were damaged due to rains triggered by the severe cyclonic storm, which crossed the coast at Machilipatnam.

According to the commissioner, disaster management C. Parthasarathi, paddy crops were damaged in West Godavari, Krishna, Guntur and East Godavari districts.

The horticulture crops over 8,700 hectares, mostly to coconut and banana trees were damaged in East Godavari and West Godavari districts.

The crop damage has dealt a fresh blow to farmers, still reeling under the massive destruction caused by last month's Cyclone Phailin and heavy rains.

Crops over 13 lakh hectares were damaged due to heavy rains last month.

The authorities evacuated about 25,000 people in four districts and shifted them to 93 camps. They began returning to their homes Saturday.

Officials said 381 houses were damaged due to rains and strong winds. Electricity supply to 700 villages was also disrupted. They said supply to 500 villages was already restored.

The government has claimed that despite the unpredictability and uncertainty associated with the cyclone, it responded promptly, minimizing human loss.

The administration of East and West Godavari districts effectively coordinated with the Coast Guard and Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) and rescued nine boats with 63 fishermen from the deep seas.

The precautionary measures also reduced damages to infrastructure.

Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, who reviewed the damages due to the cyclone, directed all the concerned departments to take up restoration work on war footing.

Parts of the coastal Andhra and Telangana regions received rains Saturday under the impact of low pressure area.

According to the met office, the cyclone weakened into low pressure area. It has forecast rainfall at many places in coastal Andhra and Telangana over the next 12 hours.

More from Sify: