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Storm alert issued for Indian state

Authorities in southern India have put military forces on alert as a tropical storm approaches a coastal region already pummelled by several days of heavy rains that have left 22 people dead and displaced 30,000.

Evacuated residents in Andhra Pradesh state are living in around 100 relief camps set up in government buildings and schools located in safer places, said Dharmana Prasad Rao, the state's revenue minister.

At least 22 people have died, many from drowning or when houses collapsed after heavy rain battered Andhra Pradesh over the last five days, Mr Rao said.

Army troops and navy personnel were on standby to evacuate villagers after the weather office predicted another severe storm could strike over the next two days.

Torrential rains have caused extensive damage to crops and have washed away roads and bridges in six coastal districts over the past five days. Hundreds of people lost mud and thatch homes swept away by the floodwaters. Survivors have been shifted to relief camps.

The state's top elected official, chief minister K Rosaiah, reviewed the flood situation in the worst affected districts and ordered administration officials to step up relief and medical facilities to people in the relief camps.

Roads and railway tracks were submerged in some parts of the region.

Meanwhile, the cyclone warning centre in Visakhapatanam town said that a storm brewing in the Bay of Bengal was moving towards southern Andhra Pradesh and neighbouring Tamil Nadu province. The storm was likely to intensify and hit the coast in 48 hours, the centre said.

State administration officials worried by the latest warning have issued an alert in all the coastal districts.

"We have asked officials to alert the people in the low-lying areas, especially in the districts where the storm is likely to hit," Mr Rao said.

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