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Cyclone Asani: Red alert continues in coastal Andhra

Red alert continued for coastal Andhra as cyclonic storm 'Asani' in Bay of Bengal came closer to shore, triggering heavy rains, accompanied by strong winds, in many parts of the state.

Some areas in south coastal districts witnessed heavy downpour and gusty winds, uprooting trees, electricity poles, and damaging crops.

After weakening into a cyclonic storm, 'Asani' continued its advancement towards Andhra coast on Wednesday. It changed the course unexpectedly and is now likely to make a landfall near Antarvedi.

According to the latest bulletin by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the cyclonic storm and lay centred about 30 km south-southeast of Machilipatnam, 50 km southwest of Narsapur, 120 km southwest of Kakinada, and 290 km southwest of Visakhapatnam.

It is very likely to move along Narsapur, Yanam, Kakinada, Tuni and Visakhapatnam coasts and emerge into west-central Bay of Bengal off the north Andhra Pradesh coast by Thursday morning. It is likely to weaken into deep depression and subsequently into depression.

According to Andhra Pradesh State Disaster Management Authority's Director B.R. Ambedkar, light to moderate rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places is likely over coastal Andhra Pradesh.

The coastal belt is also likely to see gusty winds with speed of 50-60 km per hour.

The authority has set up emergency helpline numbers 1070 and 18004250101.

The cyclone led to cancellation of all flights in and out of Visakhapatnam for a second consecutive day. The air operations were also suspended at Rajahmundry Airport while several departure and arrival flights at Vijayawada Airport were cancelled.

Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy reviewed the cyclone situation. He held a video conference with District Collectors and Superintendents of Police of districts likely to be affected.

Home Minister Taneti Vanitha said the Chief Minister directed officials to ensure that there were no casualties.

The Chief Minister directed Collectors of Bapatla, Krishna, West Godavari, Konaseema, Kakinada, Visakhapatnam and Anakapalli districts to be on high alert. He said funds have been sanctioned for relief measures.

He said impact of the cyclone will be felt in Nellore, Prakasam, Bapatla, Guntur, Krishna, NTR, West Godavari, Eluru, East Godavari, Kakinada, Konaseema, Visakhapatnam, Anakapalli, Vijayanagaram, Srikakulam, Parvathipuram, and Alluri Sitaramaraju districts and directed the officials to be more vigilant in coastal areas and low-lying areas.

He instructed the officials to alert people in low-lying areas and evacuate them to relief camps, if necessary. The officials informed the Chief Minister that they have setup relief camps at 454 locations and he instructed the officials to set up more camps at required locations.

The state government will provide Rs 2,000 to every family or Rs 1,000 to every individual while returning from the relief camps so that they can repair their houses damaged due to rains.

Jagan Mohan Reddy instructed the officials to keep diesel generators, JCBs and other material required for relief measures ready and also essential commodities like rice, pulses and cooking oil are available. Stating that there is heavy rains forecast in some areas, he directed the officials to take immediate relief and rehabilitation measures.

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