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Nov 06, 2012 at 08:52am IST

Cyclone Nilam: Death toll climbs to 28 as rains continue to lash Andhra

Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh is reeling under the after-effect of cyclone Nilam. Heavy rains continue to lash coastal areas. The death toll has risen to 28 after four children were electrocuted in the West Godavari district.

With the Met department predicting more rainfall over the next 24 hours, flooding seems to be major concern. Sources say that 68,000 people have been evacuated from low lying areas to relief camps. Sources further say that due to heavy rain 5 lakh hectares of crop have been destroyed in the state.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Monday night telephoned Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy and enquired about the situation arising out of the heavy rains in Andhra Pradesh, official sources said. They extended sympathies to the victims and assured adequate support to the state to deal with the calamity and its fallout, they said.

Kiran Reddy updated them about the prevailing situation and informed that he will be touring the rain-affected areas on Tuesday, the sources said. Reddy, on Monday, chaired a high-level review meeting with ministers and senior officials in Hyderabad.

Due to water flowing above danger mark between Tuni and Gullipadu stations in Vijayawada-Visakhapatnam section under Vijaywada Division of South Central Railway, several trains were also rescheduled and cancelled, East Coast Railway said. Meanwhile, Civil Supplies Minister D Sridhar Babu said an assistance of Rs 1.50 lakh would be given to the families of the deceased. The Chief Minister would also request the Centre to relax the norms for purchase of cotton affected by rains, he said.

To a query, the Revenue Minister said it was not correct to say that the state government delayed in taking relief measures as the government machinery was put on alert immediately. He, however, regretted that there was no mechanism to predict North-East Monsoon rains. There is a mechanism available with India Meteorological Department to predict South-West monsoon but not North-East Monsoon (winter rains received in parts of south India), he said.

Cyclone 'Nilam' crossed the Tamil Nadu coast last week without causing massive destruction. It gradually weakened into a low pressure area resulting in heavy rains in the coastal Andhra Pradesh. Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh Home Minister P Sabita Indra Reddy will visit the rain-affected areas in the East Godavari district on Tuesday.

(With additional information from PTI)

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