Amaravati: The Andhra Pradesh government issued a high alert storm threat in view of the cyclonic storm Phethai, and deployed National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force in five districts of the state on Saturday. The deep depression over southwest and adjoining the southeast Bay of Bengal moved north-northwestwards with a speed of 17 kmph and intensified into a cyclonic storm on Saturday. The depression is likely to intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm on Sunday, news agency ANI quoted the Meteorological officials as saying.

Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) stated that the cyclonic storm is very likely to move north-northwestwards and cross Andhra Pradesh coast between Machilipatnam and Kakinada during December 17 afternoon. As the storm makes a landfall between Ongole and Kakinada on Monday, the coastal regions of Andhra Pradesh and north Tamil Nadu are expected to receive downpour for the next two days. Therefore East Godavari district collector Kartikeya Misra has announced two days of holiday for the schools in eight coastal mandals.

About 50 relief camps have been set up in the eight coastal mandals and four IAS officers have been positioned at Amalapuram to take stock of the situation and take the necessary steps, added Misra.

Two teams of SDRF consisting of 80 members and two of NDRF consisting of 60 members were well-equipped and deployed in the coastal districts of Guntur, Krishna, West Godavari, East Godavari and Visakhapatnam districts for evacuation and rescue operations, stated a report from Amaravati, quoting State Disaster Management Authority director Prasanna Venkatesh. “Additionally, four teams of NDRF personnel have been sent to East Godavari district and another kept on standby at the 10th Battalion headquarters for ready movement,” Venkatesh said.

According to an IMD bulletin, the gale force was expected to increase gradually with an initial speed of 80-90 kmph to 100 kmph along and off Andhra Pradesh coast from December 17 morning. Moreover, fishermen were directed not to venture into the Bay of Bengal from Saturday till December 17 as the sea would be rough to very rough in south Andhra Pradesh and north Tamil Nadu

(With Agency inputs)