Cyclone Hudhud blasts AP, Odisha
AT LEAST FIVE DEAD; VISHAKAPATNAM WORST HIT
VISHAKAPATNAM, OCTOBER 12
Severe cyclonic storm Hudhud hit the port city of Vishakapatnam on Sunday bringing with it torrential rains in three coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh and leaving five persons dead in the state and neighbouring Odisha besides snapping power and communication lines.
Normal life was thrown completely out of gear as winds with a speed of 170 to 180 kmph battered Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts.
The very severe cyclonic storm made landfall in Visakhapatnam before noon. The gale, accompanied by heavy downpour, resulted in trees being uprooted and roofs of thatched huts and sheds being swept away.
While authorities in Andhra Pradesh evacuated 90,013 people across the four districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhaptnam and East Godavari, about 68,000 people were evacuated from coastal districts of Odisha.
While three persons were killed in rain-related incidents in Andhra Pradesh, two were killed in Odisha.
“Three deaths have been reported due to impact of Hudhud. Two died after trees fell on them and one in collapse of compound-wall in Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam districts, respectively,” AP Chief Secretary I V R Krishna Rao said.
Casualty in cyclone Hudhud rose to two in Odisha. A fisherman was caught in the sea current amid a tidal surge while he was trying to save his fishing boat anchored in the coast of Puri, Special Relief Commissioner P K Mohapatra said.
Yesterday, a nine-year-old girl drowned when a boat engaged in evacuation of the people in Satbhaya area of Kendrapara district capsized in the Baunsagadi rivulet.
Union cabinet secretary Ajit Kumar Seth said the Prime Minister was concerned not only about AP and Odisha but also wanted other states, which could face heavy rains minus the cyclone, to be alerted.
“We have done that,” Seth said, adding that while the Prime Minister reviewed the situation last night, he himself has been reviewing the situation closely and holding meetings with Chief Secretaries of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha twice daily.
Seth advised residents of cyclone-hit Vizag to exercise caution till the second phase of the high wind is over even as he lauded the efforts of the central agencies and state government in meeting the challenge.
He said once the initial brunt has been taken at the time of the landfall of the cyclone, there is a lull as the centre or eye of the storm passes but thereafter the wind speed is going to pick up again and it is going to be the same as was when it hit the coast first.
Seth said the government does not have the total estimate of the damage caused due to the cyclone as yet.
International sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik craves a sand sculpture on cyclone Hudhud at a beach in Puri on Saturday.
“State government, central agencies are on their job. They have done their job. The Army, the Navy and all other agencies are already there.
“Both the governments were well-prepared. We have been reviewing the situation with them … They have got their act together. They have taken necessary precautions and alerted the local population,” Seth said.
The NDRF has doubled the strength of its teams stationed in Vishakapatnam to 13 in order to undertake swift relief and rescue operations.
“We have increased our teams to 13 in Vizag after the landfall occurred. Earlier there were six teams stationed here,” National Disaster Response Force chief O P Singh told PTI.
In Bhubaneswar, chief minister Naveen Patnaik said the cyclone had its impact in different districts like Ganjam, Gajapati, Koraput, Puri, Kalahandi and Kendrapara.
68,000 people have been evacuated to safe places, the chief minister said, directing the officials to continue the evacuation of people from vulnerable areas as the complete impact of the cyclone would be felt some hours after the landfall.
Railway cancelled 62 trains, diverted 50
Railways cancelled or diverted many trains in north coastal Andhra and adjoining Odisha in view of severe cyclone Hudhud which hit the coast near Visakhapatnam.
Train movement has come to a complete halt between Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam and Visakhapatnam and Bhubaneswar. All trains between Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam also remain cancelled for second day Sunday.
South Central Railway has cancelled 62 trains and diverted 50 others. The officials are monitoring the situation along the track between Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam.
East Coast Railway, which covers Odisha and north coastal Andhra, has also cancelled 40 trains in view of the cyclone. Officials said this was done as a precautionary measure.
With the met office forecasting heavy rains, the train movement may not resume over next two days.
Cancelled trains include the Secunderabad-Visakhapatnam special, Tirupati-Bhubaneswar Express, Kazipet-Visakhapatnam Link Express and Hyderabad-Visakhapatnam Godavari Express in both directions.
Empty train coaches serve as cyclone relief centres
The South Central Railway has pitched in to provide cyclone relief centres – positioning four trains with 55 empty coaches at four key stations in a first-of-its-kind effort. The railways kept 15 coaches at Samalkot, 16 at Tuni, six at Kakinada and 18 in Rajahmundry. The railway stations, institutes and community halls have also been opened to the public as storm shelters – especially those between Rajahmundry and Visakhapatnam.
Railway station buildings at key stations like Rajahmundry, Samalkot, Kakinada, Annavaram, Tuni and Anakapalli will also serve as temporary shelters.