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Cyclone Gulab makes landfall in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha; PM Modi reviews situation

The cyclone is the second to hit Odisha in four months after ‘Yaas’

India Cyclone NDRF personnel arriving in preparation for Cyclone Gulab | AP

Cyclone Gulab made landfall over north coastal Andhra Pradesh and adjoining south coastal Odisha on Sunday evening, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

The cyclone is the second to hit Odisha in four months after ‘Yaas’ wreaked havoc in May.

"The cloud bands have touched coastal regions and thus the landfall process has commenced over north coastal Andhra Pradesh and adjoining south coastal Odisha. System will cross coasts between Kalingapatnam and Gopalpur, about 25 km to north of Kalingapatnam during next three hours," the IMD said in a tweet.

As the cyclone made landfall, heavy rains and strong winds hit Srikakulam in Andhra Preadesh.

"District administration has opened around 61 relief centers and shifted 1,100 people to these centres. The next two hours are crucial. We expect winds to blow at the speed of 90-100 km/h. Two teams of NDRF and four teams of SDRF have arrived here. Heavy rainfall could lead to floods, which is another challenge. Nineteen mandals in the district are flood prone," ANI quoted Srikakulam collector Sumit Kumar as saying.

Meanwhile, two of the six fishermen from Srikakulam district whose boat lost balance in the storm, have died while another person is missing. Three others have managed to reach back to the shore.

Hours before the cyclone made landfall in Odisha, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik set a “zero casualty” target in the vulnerable districts of the state. Taking the stock of the preparedness virtually from New Delhi, Patnaik said all efforts should be made to protect each and every person in the seven identified districts of Ganjam, Gajapati, Kandhamal, Koraput, Rayagada, Nabarangpur and Malkangiri.

As many as 16,000 villagers have been evacuated from Ganjam district.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy and Odisha CM Patnaik and took stock of the situation arising in the wake of Cyclone Gulab. He also assured them all possible support from the Centre. "Praying for the safety and well-being of everybody," the prime minister said in a tweet.

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