Cyclone Hudhud weakens in Andhra, Odisha; govts step up rescue efforts
As Cyclone Hudhud weakened moving north-westward, the governments of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha on Monday focused on bringing life back to normal in the affected districts following damage to infrastructure and shortage of essential commodities.india Updated: Oct 13, 2014 14:27 IST
As Cyclone Hudhud weakened moving north-westward, the governments of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha on Monday focused on bringing life back to normal in the affected districts following damage to infrastructure and shortage of essential commodities.
An alert for heavy to very heavy rainfall has been sounded in districts of Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram and in some parts of Odisha, where the cyclone claimed eight lives so far before heading to Chhattisgarh.
Over 2.48 lakh people in 320 villages of 44 mandals (blocks) have been affected by the cyclone in Andhra Pradesh.
As many as 1,35,262 persons have been evacuated and accommodated in 223 relief camps.
According to the state's revenue (disaster management) department, five persons were killed in incidents of wall and roof collapses and uprooting of trees in the region.
The dead included one-year-old P Naga Manoj.
It was a picture of destruction in Visakhapatnam, which bore the brunt of the cyclone fury, with hundreds of fallen trees, poles and other rubble blocking roads as winds of almost 200 kmph tore away roofs and hoardings in the city, where the cyclone made landfall on Sunday.
"There is no power, no water or milk, no electricity. We are not getting petrol. We cannot move on the roads. It is difficult to survive a single day here," said a harried resident.
The cyclone snapped water and power supply and communication links have collapsed in the affected areas.
Most of the petrol pumps were closed due to the damage caused by the cyclone and those which had opened on Monday, saw people queuing up in large numbers.
The airport and railway lines in the city were badly damaged in the heavy downpour and gusty winds.
The state government has started the tedious exercise of assessing damage and losses with chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu directing Hyderabad-headquartered National Remote Sensing Centre to use geo-tagging to put the data on damage on the map.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Visakhapatnam on Tuesday to take stock of the situation while Naidu's cabinet is expected to be in the city as the government focuses on bringing life back to normal in the affected districts.
"Will visit Visakhapatnam tomorrow and take stock of the situation," he tweeted.
Modi said he has spoken to Naidu and has been constantly taking updates.
According to Met department, Hudhud lay centred very close to south Chhattisgarh and adjoining southwest Odisha. It would move north-northwestwards and weaken gradually.
No serious damage in Odisha
As Hudhud made its exit into the mainland over south Chhattisgarh and adjoining southwest Odisha and weakened into deep depression, the state government on Monday braced for relief and rehabilitation in the affected southern districts.
Odisha special relief commissioner PK Mohapatra said no serious damage has been reported except for a few trees and electric poles getting uprooted in one or two districts.
“Our advance teams cleared the roads within an hour. We evacuated more than 2.33 lakh people and by God’s grace, there is no increase in casualty,” Mohapatra said.
On Sunday, three people died in the state. The deceased were identified as six-year-old Puja Mallick and 11-year-old Hemant Mallick of Magarkanda village in Kendrapara district and 42-year-old fisherman Sudulu Goraya of Penthakata in Puri district, Mohapatra said.
Mohapatra said the government had been keeping a watch on flood-like situation and the situation was completely under control.
Rains accompanied by gusty wind continued in several parts of south Odisha including Malkangiri district and officials said the wind speed would gradually decrease.
As the cyclonic storm moved away from the state and proceeded north-westwards continuing to lose steam gradually, the met office forecast rainfall at many places over Odisha and heavy to very heavy rainfall at one or two places of interior districts in the next 24 hours.
“It would move north-northwestwards, weaken into a depression during the next six hours and into a well-marked low pressure area during subsequent six hours,” an IMD spokesperson said.
Special relief commissioner Mohapatra said the state government had to make special efforts to get the tribal people, mostly from the Bonda and Didia communities in Malkangiri, to leave their dwellings and move to safety.
As most of the southern region received heavy to medium rainfall, the state government had made preparations for any possible floods in rivers like Bansadhara and Rusikulya.
However, the water level in the two rivers was below danger levels, officials said.
Hudhud slows down, heavy rainfall to follow: MeT
At least 16 teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and 10 Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) were engaged in rescue operations and 17 satellite phones given by the central government were used for uninterrupted communication.
NDRF and ODRAF teams are now gearing up for post-cyclone operations in order to restore normalcy in the cyclone affected areas, officials said.
Steps have been initiated to restore power supply in some areas in south Odisha where electric poles and other systems had been affected, they said.
Armed with equipment and machinery, the teams would soon remove uprooted trees, they added.
Free kitchens have been set up in around 2,000 shelter homes where the evacuated people were accommodated in the ten districts of Gajapati, Ganjam, Koraput, Malkangiri, Puri, Rayagada, Nabarangpur, Kendrapara, Kalahandi and Khurda, a senior official said.
Those sheltered in these centres would be able to leave for their homes as soon as the rainfall and situation improves and wind speed falls, he said.
Road and train operations to Vishakhapatanam were suspended during the cyclonic movement on Sunday as a precautionary measure in view of the storm.
While the state government stopped plying of buses to Andhra Pradesh and many southern Odisha districts, the Indian Railways cancelled 58 trains and diverted 50 others.
While bus services were resuming to some places on Monday, the railways was also planning to run trains up to Palasa, officials said.
Chief minister Naveen Patnaik had spoken to Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday and apprised him of the his government's preparedness.
Similarly, chief secretary GC Pati had interacted with Union cabinet secretary Ajit Seth thrice over the situation.?
Officials said the Odisha government would also extend further help to Andhra Pradesh soon.
(With PTI inputs)