Hurricane season in the Northern Indian Ocean just seen its first tropical storm become a hurricane within 24 hours. Called Laila, the cyclone moves at an average speed of 24 km / h to the north-west India and menaces already three states in the south east coast of India, starting with Andhra Pradesh that should be affected Thursday morning. An evacuation plan has been put in place in case of major damage.
At 10:45 p.m. IST, Laila was located about 150 km north-east of Chennai, capital of Tamil Nadu in the Bay of Bengal with wind gusts of 125 km / h. On the coast of Tamil Nadu, the repercussion are felt in Pondicherry with heavy rains, premature for the season. Towards Chennai, gusts of wind are violent and waves are reaching over 3 meters high 50. There are already three dead, including a fisherman who tried to save his ship from sinking.
Laila expected to strengthen and reach 155 km / h when it will hit the city Machilipatnam in Andhra Pradesh. The authorities, alerted by the Meteorological Department of the State, since this morning inform coastal communities to prevent sea outing and evacuate residents located on the edge of coastline.
Today, throughout the day, alert forecasts were issued to alert the port authorities of Andhra Pradesh. Torrential rains are planned that will also affect inland causing flooding and power outages. Everywhere, last minute shelters are putting up. Schools and government buildings are currently requisitioned to serve as refuge camps for evacuees.
Emergency measures in Andhra Pradesh
777 villages could be victims of Laila in Andhra Pradesh that will be the state most heavily affected by the cyclone. In the south of the state, in Nellore district, Kavali town is currently experiencing heavy rains and violent winds from causing further power cuts, interruption of all activities in the area . Since yesterday, 120 fishermen out at sea are recorded as missing.
The Chief Minister in Andhra Pradesh, Dr.. Rosaiah, asked that all government forces of the State remain in close contact with the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to make sure that their whole team will be ready in case of emergency. Coastal districts governments are also taking all precautionary and relief measures who are possible while the police are already on alert. Satellite radios have been distributed to the districts collectors. Increased vigilance is given to roads and bridges.
The NDRF consists of two groups, six teams have been dispatched to the city of Visakhapatnam, which should be followed quickly by three new teams for the city of Vijayawada and an other team for three other risky districts. Four helicopters will arrive in a short time on the coast of Andhra Pradesh and basic equipment transported to the emergency camps. Andhra Pradesh State Road Corporation buses are available for transfer.
The health department also offers the basic medical equipment and about 222 ambulances are available to reach the first aid area. These arrangements should be made to evacuate and transport residents of risk areas to shelters and to provide first aid. Albeit the government put all its effort to face the situation these measures may be few enough so far that one of the first cities that will be affected Visakhaptnam, has about 970,000 inhabitants.
The areas of rice fields are also menaced and oil firms are in maximal vigilance. Reliance Industries has stopped for the moment its oil production as a precaution in the region and reduce 10% of its gas exploitation, the largest in the country, to avoid major damage.
The crisis caused in Andhra Pradesh by the cyclone is also causing political upheaval. The Punarankitha Sabha, rededication day, to be held May 20th, to celebrate five years of the Congress Party to power in Andhra Pradesh has been postponed.
Another major concern remains, Laila could delay the monsoon rains, vital to millions of Indians in rural areas, and thus affect the entire agricultural economy in the months to come. The late rains in recent years have already change it dramatically and prices of food are increasing.
According to Ajit Tyagi, Director General of Meteorological Department of India, the monsoon rains this year should be reduced by 2% compared to the average. But the impact of Laila on the agricultural economy remains divided. According to Giri Babaji, director of the agricultural department of Orissa downpours would help to plow the land and make the soil more fertile.
In 2009, the hurricane had killed 300 people Aila
The impact of the cyclone are felt up to Colombo, capital of Sri Lanka, where nearly 280,000 people were displaced. Many areas of the city is also flooded and all the flights are canceled.
In May 2009, Cyclone Aila had killed 300 people, made 200,000 homeless and destroyed 4,000 kilometers of roads and embankments in the Sunderbans region of India and in Bangladesh. Today, all the rehabilitation programs for the region are still not completed. Laila, who reached for the moment the 2A class on the Saffir – Simpson scale, is expected to cause similar damage, destroying mud houses and thatched, lines of communication and power lines and flooding roads in the affected areas.
After violently struck Andhra Pradesh, Laila will rebound along the coast of Orissa and West Bengal in the next 48 hours before reaching Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) on the night of May 22nd to 23rd. The winds will be get weaker before the hurricane continues on its way to Bangladesh.
Original source (french): http://www.lecourant.info/spip.php?article2785