Machilipatnam: Cyclone Helen made its expected landfall in coastal Andhra Pradesh on Friday. The cyclone hit Machilipatnam District at around 2 PM this afternoon, is said to be travelling at a speed of 120 kilometres per hour.
The cyclone has left a disaster trail in the Machlipatnam area in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh. Electric poles, trees were spotted lying strewn all along the cyclone's path.
Paddy crop ready for harvest and coconut and banana crops suffered extensive damage in coastal districts, he said.
The West Godavari district is said to be the worst-hit in terms of crop damage, while coastal districts of Krishna, East Godavari and Srikakulam bore the brunt of heavy rains, though Cyclone Helen's impact was also felt in Guntur and Visakhapatnam districts, he said.
Gusty winds continue to pound the state even as authorites started restoration works.
The authorities have reportedly evacuated over 11,000 people from areas that have been or likely to be affected by it. However, local media had reported deaths of seven people in cyclone related incidents.
Three boats carrying 20 fishermen who went out for fishing, were missing earlier, but two of these boats are on their way back to the coast safely in East Godavari district, while efforts are on to ensure the safety of the third boat, AP State Disaster Management Commissioner C Parthasarathi told reporters here.
The Disaster Management Commissioner said that 10 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed for rescue operations.
The chief minister had spoken to collectors of East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna and Guntur districts over phone and asked to them open relief camps wherever required and evacuate people to safety. He wanted the district administrations to co-ordinate with National Disaster Response Force, police and other departments in the rescue and relief operations.
Meanwhile, the Indian Coast Guard has despatched its ship Avantibai to rescue 20 fishermen from East Godavari district trapped in the rough sea. A Chetak helicopter of the Navy is also being pressed into service for the rescue operation, the Navy informed the General Administration department here.
"Our Chetak embarked Vishwast for strategic launch. We also requested for twin-engine helicopter launch," the Navy informed the GAD.
Next: Highlights of the live coverage of cyclone Helen