Chapalavuppada, a fishing village 20 km north of Visakhapatnam, is a worried lot. The community’s life is deeply connected with the sea but now the fear gripping them is the storm surge from the sea which could take away their livelihood.
Cyclone Hudhud, which has become a very severe storm, is most likely to make a landfall near the village on Sunday. Winds would be at a menacing 170 kmph at that time but what is more threatening is the prediction of a storm surge of 2-3 metres.
The sea had already come forward by about 100 metres on Saturday at Chapalavuppada and other places along the coast of Visakhapatnam district.
All this while the fishermen were busy dragging their boats further inland.
“This is the time, after Dushhera, we do the Gangamma puja and venture into the sea for hunting. The cyclone warnings have kept us away from last few days thus hitting our income. But now, the bigger danger is to our boats and our livelihood itself,” says Tholada Ammoru (50), a fisherman.
With no insurance, a loss of boat to the sea means loss of over Rs six lakh rupees and no means of an earning for Ammoru thereafter. Villagers have been asking the authorities for a jetty nearby to anchor their boats safely, but to no avail.
“Over that if the government could provide us the insurance coverage for boats, we would not be worried like this every time a storm comes,’’ says Kaari Ramudu, a local politician from the village.
The villagers though are not so worried about their own lives. Authorities were in the village trying to evacuate them to cyclone shelters but not many were willing to move, at least as of Saturday afternoon.
“Some are of confidence that the sea would never harm them and some would be reluctant to leave their house and belongings behind,’’ says a local official involved in rescue and rehabilitation efforts of the Andhra Pradesh government.
At the cyclone shelter nearby, villagers from low lying areas are slowly adding in. Arrangements like food, water, medicines are made at the building constructed in 1983 that could hold about 300 people and if the need be a much larger number.