Amravati: After Cyclone Phethai made a landfall on Monday at Katrenikona in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, leaving 14,000 hectares of crops damaged, the Odisha government has evacuated more than 11,000 people to safety zones.

With the vast destruction wreaked by Phethai, the state officials informed Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu about the 26,000 metric tonnes of agricultural produce that had been destroyed. Following this, Naidu conducted a review meeting at Real Time Governance center at the state’s secretariat. He said officials should be able to gauge the probable damage based on wind velocity in advance to take up relief measures immediately.

In the meeting, officials mentioned that at least 300 sheep had died apart from the vast hectares of crops being damaged. The highest rainfall of 160 mm was recorded in Tallarevu. At least 379 electrical poles were damaged, out of which 146 have been restored so far.

Meanwhile, the Eastern Naval Command has dispatched Ships Jyoti and Shakti to Kakinada for Cyclone Rescue Operation. INS Shakti with diving, medical teams and Humanitarian Assistance and Distress Relief stores along with a UH3H helicopter is being sailed out from Visakhapatnam to Kakinada.

While the state government has said that the priority continues to be on ensuring that loss of lives is at an absolute minimum, the destruction to property and farmland is expected to be significant.

Over 5,000 people from some coastal and low-lying villages have been shifted to relief camps opened by the East Godavari district administration. National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and naval helicopters are on standby along with 10,000 government employees as part of disaster preparedness.

Turbulent weather conditions forced the authorities to cancel 14 flights to the port city of Visakhapatnam and divert many others to Hyderabad. Over 700 passengers were stranded at Visakhapatnam airport due to the cancellation of flights.

The cyclone, the second to hit Andhra coast this year, had its impact on seven out of nine coastal districts. The rains inundated roads and low-lying areas in Vijayawada, bringing vehicular traffic to a halt. ‘Phethai’ also had an impact on neighbouring Telangana state with heavy rains lashing many districts. Paddy, cotton and other agriculture produce brought by farmers to the markets for sale were damaged.