Cycle Helen left behind a trail of destruction in the Krishna delta region spread over Krishna and Guntur districts. Farmers in coastal mandals of Krishna and Guntur suffered huge losses as crops inundated in thousands of acres. Paddy farmers bore the brunt due to inundation of crops which reached harvesting stage in two districts.
According to preliminary estimates, paddy crops were damaged in 90,000 hectares in Krishna district.
Coastal mandals witnessed heavy rains for three days leading to the inundation of crops. Horticulture crops were damaged in another 300 hectares in Diviseema and Lanka villages.
Deputy director of agriculture, Balu Naik, said paddy was cultivated in 6.5 lakh hectares and standing crop in about 90,000 hectares was affected as per preliminary estimates. The Krishna district administration set up 33 rehabilitation centres and evacuated 8,000 people to these centres while power supply was disrupted in 195 villages of Krishna district.
In Guntur district, paddy crops were submerged in more than one lakh hectares due to heavy rains this week. Paddy was damaged in Bapatla, Kollipara, Tenali, Duggirala, Kolluru, Nizampatnam,
Karlapalem and other mandals. Besides, papaya and papaya orchards were also damaged in about 600 hectares in the coastal villages of Guntur district. Officials are gearing up for the enumeration of crop loss in these mandals. Black gram crop was damaged in 2,000 hectares in Guntur district according to preliminary reports.
Heavy rains due to cyclone Phailin and later Helen have made the farmers in Krishna and Guntur a worried lot. With cyclone Leher expected to bring more devastation, they are cursing their fates.
In Prakasam district, the crop damage was very less during cyclone Helen. The district witnessed normal rainfall that did not damage crops.
Visakhapatnam: Helen has proved to be the last straw on the camel’s back for farmers in the north Coastal Andhra districts. While cyclone Phailin and the subsequent heavy rains had caused enough devastation that damaged crops to a large extent, the recent rains due to cyclone Helen have completely destroyed the remaining crops including the damaged crops that farmers hoped would ensure them at least a part of their investments.
While the officials are conducting their damage assessments, preliminary reports indicate that over one lakh acre of crops were damaged in Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam district due to the rains over the last four days. Though Sunday turned out to be sunny for most parts of north Coastal Andhra districts after the cyclonic storm Helen weakened into a depression, officials said that the standing crop including over 20 per cent of paddy was destroyed due to the rains causing a loss of over `750 cr to farmers in these districts, particularly Visakhapatnam, which has suffered the worse.
According to an estimate, crops in over 7,000 acres suffered 100 per cent damage in all the three districts of north Coastal Andhra. “Crop in almost the same extent of area got inundated with rain water and cannot be recovered to a large extent considering the current situation. We are doubtful, if it would be sold in the market. The government too is unlikely to purchase such low quality crops and instead is likely to announce a better compensation considering that this is an election year,” said a senior official in the agriculture department of Visakhapatnam district.
As per official estimates, about 57,000 farmers lost their crops due to the rains during the last month and the number could increase by at least another 5,000 this year due to the damage caused by cyclone Helen. The officials said that there is little left for the forthcoming cyclonic storm Lehar to damage the crops. Crops in Anakapalle, Madugula, Kotavuratla, Araku, Munagapaka, Hukumpeta, Chodavaram, and Paderu mandals of Visakhapatnam district have been severely affected due to the incessant rains over the last three-four days.
In Srikakulam district, paddy in about 30,000 acres were completely ruined and left behind harvested paddy soaking in the fields filled with rain water. “Farmers in Ranasthalam mandal were harvesting paddy cultivated in about 4,500 acres but the rains have completely inundated these agricultural fields and damaged the crop,” said Y Sitaramaraju, a farmer from Srikakulam district.
Even the crop which was being harvested got wet due to the rains and got discoloured. As if this is not enough, vegetables, onions and other horticultural crops being cultivated in about 3,000 acres were also damaged.
The situation is a lot better in Vizianagaram district where crops in over 1,000 acres got damaged due to the incessant rains.
However officials have declared that crop in only 220 acres was damaged as per their preliminary estimates. Paddy in S Kota, Nellimerla, Parvatipuram, Terlam and several other mandals got inundated and are unlikely to fetch investments to farmers, leave alone profits. At many places, paddy crop was cut for harvesting but before the farmers could proceed further, rains played spoilsport and damaged the entire crop.
Rajahmundry: The cyclone left bitter experience behind for the people of the district, particular of the Konaseema area, which incurred heavy losses because of the cyclone. Still 270 villages are in dark due to lack of power and the officials say it will take two more days for them to restore power.
Preliminary estimates have put the losses to be around `350 crore. As many as 80,000 coconut trees were uprooted and paddy crop in 1.13 lakh hectares got submerged, with most reportedly discoloured.
As many as 3,300 people from the low-lying areas were shifted to 17 relief centres. 204 huts, 13 pucca houses, seven kachha houses were fully damaged, 27 kachha and pucca houses were partially damaged, and 72 kachha houses were fully damaged. Roads to the length of six kilometres were damaged, 17 milch animals and two small animals died. Banana plantations in 3,460 hectares got damaged. 24 fishing boats were washed away to the sea and 233 boats sustained damages.
Hundreds of electric poles collapsed and 150 kms of HT lines, 270 kms of LT lines were damaged causing a loss of `1 crore to the department. Due to lack of co-ordination between the departments, people were forced to clear the collapsed trees on the roads in many areas. People in Konaseema are expressing their ire over the negligent attitude of the district administration in relief operations.
Meanwhile, West Godavari district incurred a loss of `463 crore due to cyclone Helen. As many as eight mandals and 37 villages were affected. Paddy crops in 11,000 hectars , horticulture crops in 150 hectars, 882 houses including pucca, kachha huts were damaged.
As many as 5,000 people were evacuated to 15 relief camps and 40 National Disaster Management personnel took part in the relief operations; 12,846 food and 26,000 water packets were distributed and 97 medical camps were arranged. 94 kms of panchayat raj roads were damaged in a length of 16 kms in the district.
Pipelines to the length of 205 kms were damaged along with 150 structures, drains, etc of minor irrigation.
Now, with Cyclone Leher being predicted to be even more devastating than the previous two cyclones, people in both the districts are in a grip of fear. As the predictions are that the cyclone would make landfall near Kakinada, people of the port city are a worried lot.
District administration has put all officials along the coast on a high alert and machinery has been readied to shift the populace from coastal towns and villages at moment’s notice.
All fishing operations along the coast have been halted based on the advise of the met department.