Srikakulam sleepless in longest night in living memory
By Express News Service | Published: 13th October 2013 10:51 AM |
Saturday night turned out to be a nightmare for lakhs of people in Srikakulam district as Phailin crossed the shore. Heavy to very heavy rainfall was reported from Uddanam, Itchapuram, Kalingapatnam and Sompeta. Except for Srikakulam town, power supply to most parts of the district was cut.
Heavy rain coupled with wind speed of over 150 kmph hit the coastal area at the time of Phailin’s landfall. According to preliminary reports, electric poles, cellphone towers and several trees fell across the region. “A blanket of darkness has enveloped the district except for Srikakulam town and its surrounding areas. Most of the villages are practically cut off from the rest of the State,” said L Srinivasa Rao, a revenue official. Following the landfall, chaos prevailed in the district. About 30 people were stuck in Vonturu in Kaviti mandal. When reports last came in, a rescue team of the National Disaster Response Force was preparing to rescue them. About 400 people from Manchineellapeta in Vajrapukothuru mandal were shifted in boats late in the evening after the village was flooded with sea water. The bund of Upputeru rivulet was breached near Pudilanka due to heavy inflows and incessant rain.
Officials shifted 200 villagers in boats after water from Upputeru inundated the village. Efforts are on to stop the flow with sand bags. With high tides rising up to 3 metres and sea surging up to 40-100 feet along the coastline, people, particularly fishermen, who normally feast during the Dasara celebrations, were forced to flee to safer places.
After reviewing the situation, Medical Education Minister Kondru Murali told reporters about 85,000 people had been evacuated in the district over the last two days and accommodated in 71 cyclone shelters. “Srikakulam district bore the brunt of the cyclone and about 240 villages in 11 mandals are severely affected. Our primary concern is to evacuate people and ensure there is no loss of life. Casualties or damage can be estimated only after the rain stops,” he said.
Official sources said Sompeta, Kanchili, Kaviti and Itchapuram mandals were the worst-hit where a large number of houses were damaged. The district administration is monitoring water flow at Nagavali and Vamsadhara rivers.