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Laila weakens, 45,000 people evacuated

Hyderabad: Over 45,000 people were evacuated from low-lying areas of Andhra Pradesh even as cyclone Laila appeared to be weakening gradually and is expected to cross the state’s coast near Machilipatnam.

Laila remained ‘practically stationary’ and lay centered some 200 km south off Machilipatnam coast and is likely to hit the mainland, according to the latest bulletin released by the MeT department.

“The system is showing signs of weakening due to increase of wind shear and land interaction,” the Met bulletin said.

However, the threat has not subsided fully yet as gales with speeds of over 115 km in the coastal areas may cause a lot of damage, a senior official of the Disaster Management Department said.

“We have already moved about 40000 people from vulnerable villages to safety and many more will be shifted based on need,” he said.

Defence Minister A K Antony said, “The armed forces were always ready to help the civil administration whenever they are in distress.”

“Whatever help is needed from the Navy and the other armed forces, we will extend,” he said.

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