A week after Cyclone Hudhud hit them head-on damaging almost every house and establishment, what is hurting the people of Visakhapatnam more is the loss of the green cover the city took pride and shelter in.
Nestled between the Bay of Bengal and the Eastern Ghats, Visakhapatnam or Vizag was a picturesque city with over 30% green cover in the 680 sq km area it is spread.
Hubs of greenery - Andhra and GITAM universities, the zoo, Vizag Steel Plant and the contiguous hills like Kailasagiri and Simhachalam now lay bare.
On the streets, there is no shade now for the homeless or hard workers like vendors and cart pullers to rest under.
Appearance apart, the widespread destruction is bound to affect the climate of the city with population of two million. Vizag, a humid place, is also a centre of heavy industries like steel plant, electrical and petrochemicals.
Such efforts, forest officials say, could save about 25% of the trees in the city. So, plans are afoot to go in for a massive plantation programme with the arrival of the monsoon next year.
Some NGOs have already begun distributing saplings. And Vizag looks determined to regain its green cover.
A view of the Vizag Collectorate office. (Prasad Nichenametla/HT Photo)
Kailasagiri, which was a beautiful hill and major tourist spot, is in shambles after Hudhud made a landfall. (Prasad Nichenametla/HT Photo)
Inside Vizag Steel Plant - a vast space of lush greenery now looks like this. (Prasad Nichenametla/HT Photo)