Cyclone Laila on yesterday weakened into a depression and further into a low pressure area while moving towards south Orissa, leaving a reported 36 people dead in its wake. The powerful cyclone slammed into south-eastern India on Thursday, destroying homes, killing livestock, ruining crops, toppling power lines and triggering landslides.
The state government has launched the task of rehabilitating about 75,000 displaced people and providing food and water to the thousands stranded in flood waters.
Despite the weakening of the system, meteorological department officials called for a continued vigil by the government today as it predicted widespread rainfall over the north coastal Andhra and Telangana regions during the next 24 hours.
The toll in the incidents triggered by the cyclone rose to 36 on Friday with 12 more deaths reported from Krishna district (4), Guntur (3), Vizag (3) and Prakasam (2). "As of Friday, several persons are missing from the coastal districts. At least 172 houses were completely destroyed and 265 suffered partial damage while 367 livestock perished in the cyclone," an official said.
A farmer in East Godavari committed suicide after his four-acre paddy crop was destroyed by the cyclone. Animal husbandry minister K Parthasarathy said the cyclone destroyed about 28,000 metric tonnes of paddy. The other crops destroyed were mango, banana, betel leaves and papaya. Prawn cultivation tanks and salt farming also suffered damage.
Most of Prakasam district including parts of Ongole town is still without power. APTransco chairman and MD Ajay Jain said power in 90 per cent of the affected areas would be restored by Saturday.