Rescue operations were underway in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha on Monday after a severe cyclone pounded the eastern coast, leaving 24 people dead and a trail of destruction in its wake.
A day after Cyclone Hudhud hit Visakhapatnam, the sun was out and there were no signs of Sunday’s fury when winds of up to 200 kilometres per hour and heavy rains lashed the port city.
Authorities worked to restore communication lines, removing trees and electric poles and were trying to get air and train services back on track after strong winds damaged railroads and the airport.
People queued up at petrol pumps and outside ATMs and stores to buy essential commodities such as milk, candles and kerosene.
“We need at least 100 years to rebuild our beautiful city,” said a worker, cutting an uprooted tree outside the collectorate.
Relief teams were working round the clock to restore essential services by Tuesday, Visakhapatnam district collector N Yuvraj said.
The government is using Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp to reach out to people.
Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababa Naidu, who has decided to camp in the city to oversee relief operations, said all possible support would be given to those affected.
“I like Visakhapatnam very much. It is painful to see the city in this condition,” he said after visiting some of the affected areas.
The death toll due to the devastating cyclonic storm in Andhra Pradesh climbed to 21. More than 1.35 lakh people taking shelter in relief camps.
"A total of 15 deaths were reported from Visakhapatnam district, five in Vizianagaram and one in Srikakulam," Special Commissioner in state disaster management department K Hymavathi told PTI.
PM visit on Tuesday
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Visakhapatnam on Tuesday to take stock of the damage caused by the cyclone, whose intensity went to “severe” from “very severe” after wind speeds had dropped to 110 kmph by Sunday evening.
“Will visit Visakhapatnam tomorrow and take stock of the situation,” the Prime Minister tweeted.
Modi directed top central officials to ensure there were no bottlenecks in relief and rescue operations in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha as he took stock of the situation of the two cyclone-hit states on the eve of his visit to Vishakapatnam.
At the high-level meeting on the aftermath of Cyclone Hudhud, he also emphasised the need to document learnings from this cyclone, and to put in place more precise drills and disaster management plans involving all stakeholders, especially in areas which are prone to such disasters.
The defence ministry said four naval ships were ready to sail to the coast, carrying relief material for 5,000 people, and about 24 diving teams for relief operations.
As many as five lakh people had taken shelter in relief camps, said chief secretary Parakala Prabhakar.
The ongoing India-West Indies one-day series was also affected with the Board for Control of Cricket in India calling off the fourth match that was to be played at Visakhapatnam on Tuesday.
No floods in Odisha
In neighbouring Odisha, where the cyclone was less severe, special relief commissioner PK Mohapatra said teams were working to clear the debris on the roads.
“Our advance teams cleared the roads within an hour. We evacuated more than 2.74 lakh people and by God’s grace, there is no increase in casualty,” Mohapatra said.
A state government report said Cyclone Hudhud damaged about 48,000 thatched houses, 600 electric poles, 24 transformers and 75 km of electric wires. The death toll remained static at three since Sunday.
Mohapatra said the state was expecting more rains in the next 24 hours although there would not be a flood-like situation.
Hudhud moves to Chhattisgarh
The intensity of cyclone Hudhud reduced as it moved to Chhattisgarh on Monday morning and has turned into a 'deep depression', MeT department said.
In the next six hours, its intensity will reduce further and it will turn into a 'depression' and bring rainfall in several parts of east India, it said.
"The 'deep depression' over south Chhattisgarh and neighbourhood moved northwards and lay centered 50km south of Raipur. It will move northwards for next 12 hours and then north-northeastwards.
"It will weaken into a depression during the next 6 hours and into a well-marked low pressure area during the subsequent 12 hours," an Indian Meteorological Department bulletin said.
(With inputs from agencies)