Amaravati/Puducherry: Over 9,400 people living along the Bay of Bengal coast in SPS Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh were today evacuated to relief camps amid heavy rains due to the influence of severe cyclonic storm Vardah.
Eight fishermen belonging to Tamil Nadu were rescued from the sea near the Sriharikota High Altitude Range while search was on for ten more persons feared trapped at sea.
With the cyclonic storm Vardah set to make landfall between Sriharikota and Chennai, a state of high alert is being maintained in SPS Nellore district.
"The police and CISF personnel are on the job and all the ten fishermen are safe. But they are somehow reluctant to come to the shore. We will soon bring them out," Nellore Superintendent of Police Vishal Gunni told PTI over phone.
Municipal Administration Minister P Narayana, who is camping in Nellore to oversee the rescue and relief operations, said Vakadu and Tada received 4.8 and 3 cms of rain, respectively, since today morning.
"We have already moved over 9,400 persons in seven vulnerable mandals to safety. All necessary measures have been taken to ensure safety of people," he said.
Earlier, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu had directed the Nellore district administration to evacuate people in about 255 low-lying areas to safer places.
The Chief Minister reviewed the situation through teleconference and asked the official machinery to remain on high alert to prevent loss of lives.
The holy Tirumala Hills have been receiving rainfall since last night, causing some hardship to devotees visiting the shrine of Lord Venkateswara.
Temple Executive Officer D Sambasiva Rao has directed the temple staff to make necessary arrangements for the comfort of the pilgrims in view of the inclement weather.
Under the influence of Vardah, Nellore and Chittoor districts are expected to receive heavy rainfall.
In Sullurpeta mandal in Nellore district, 30 persons were shifted to a relief camp this morning.
The South Central Railway has cancelled some passenger trains between Sullurpeta and Chennai in view of the cyclone.
The Vijayawada-Chennai-Vijayawada Pinakini Express has been diverted via Renigunta and Arrakkonam. Some other Express trains on the Chennai route have also been diverted via Arrakkonam.
Meanwhile, the Puducherry government today took precautionary steps to prevent tourists and other people from going close to the sea shore.
Police personnel were deployed on the entire two-and-a-half kilometre stretch of beach road and barricades were also put on all roads close to the sea shore.
All schools and colleges are closed today.
Special meetings of the officials of Revenue and Disaster Management Department to ensure that all necessary arrangements were in place.
Control rooms were opened with toll free numbers 1070 and 1077 for people.
Flow of vehicles at various important centres was thin.
Puducherry experienced intermittent drizzle from early morning due to approaching very severe cyclone Vardah.