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Cyclone weakens but kills 11 in Andhra.

THE cyclonic storm Jal crossed coastal Andhra Pradesh on Monday after losing its steam, but left a trail of destruction in several districts by triggering torrential rains.

The state government said the storm caused heavy damages in 11 districts of coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema and resulted in the death of 11 people.

" There were four deaths each in Nellore and East Godavari districts, while Guntur, Prakasam and Chittoor recorded one death each because of the storm and rain- related incidents," revenue minister Dharmana Prasada Rao said.

Unconfirmed reports, however, put the toll at 25, including 18 deaths in Nellore alone.

There were reports of bodies of fishermen, who had ventured into the sea a couple of days ago, being swept ashore in Visakhapatnam and East Godavari districts.

The minister said the cyclone had a heavy impact on 59 blocks in seven districts and in all, 199 villages were completely inundated.

" We have asked the district authorities to be alert for another 24 hours, since the rains are likely to continue to wreak havoc in the coastal areas and Rayalaseema," Rao said.

Officials have opened 235 relief camps in Nellore, Prakasam, Guntur, Krishna and Chittoor districts.

The damage was, however, minimised because of the sudden fall in the intensity of Jal before it crossed the coast.

" Initially, there were indications of a super cyclone, which later turned into a severe cyclonic storm over southwest Bay of Bengal.

But as it hit the coast between Chennai and Nellore in the early hours of Monday, the storm weakened into a deep depression," Met department officials said.

The deep depression further weakened into a depression over the Rayalaseema region, and is expected to move west- northwestwards and weaken further gradually on Monday.

The depression triggered strong winds and heavy rains in Nellore, Prakasam, Chittoor and adjoining districts. Fearing devastation, the authorities had evacuated people from villages close to the coastal and low- lying areas.

But the weakening of the storm came as a big relief for coastal Andhra. It had been battered by heavy rains over the last week, which killed 37 people and damaged crops in about 300,000 hectares.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Nov 9, 2010
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