Cyclone ‘Hudhud’ likely to hit Andhra, Odisha coasts

RSTV Bureau

HudhudWith Cyclone ‘Hudhud’ expected to hit the Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coasts by Sunday, state authorities evacuated thousands of people on Saturday in vulnerable areas to safer places.

The cyclone is expected to make a landfall near Visakhapatnam by tomorrow afternoon, a senior official said, adding, about 1.11 lakh people in five coastal districts have been shifted to safer places.

The Andhra government has made arrangements to evacuate 5,14,725 people in all, officials said, while the Army and the Navy have kept their personnel on stand-by for rescue and relief operations.

According to the reports received by the state Disaster Management Commissioner A R Sukumar, 35,000 persons have been evacuated in Srikakulam district, 6,000 in Vizianagaram, 15,000 in Visakhapatnam, 50,000 in East Godavari and 5,000 in the West Godavari district.

Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has been reviewing the situation with top officials and requested ISRO to provide satellite images of Hudhud’s course.

In Odisha, the state government today began evacuating people from vulnerable areas to minimise casualties even as two flights and 39 trains on the route were cancelled.

“The collectors of eight districts – Koraput, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur, Rayagada, Gajapati, Ganjam, Kalahandi and Kandhamal have been on the job to shift people from vulnerable areas to safe places,” Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Mohapatra said.

In New Delhi, India Meteorological Department’ bulletin said that heavy to very heavy rainfall is expected in the next 48 hours in parts of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha as ‘Hudhud’, which has developed into a very severe cyclone, nears Visakhapatnam and Gopalpur.

It said the cyclone moved west-northwestwards during past six hours and lay centred about 260 km southeast of Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and 350 km south-southeast of Gopalpur in Odisha.

The warning said squally wind speed reaching 50-60 kmph gusting to 70 kmph would prevail along and off north Andhra Pradesh and south Odisha coasts during next 12 hours.

Sea condition along and off north Andhra Pradesh and south Odisha coasts would be rough to very rough during next 12 hours.

Meanwhile, the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) met again today under the Chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth and reviewed the preparedness for relief and rescue operations in the wake of the cyclonic storm.

A total of 39 NDRF teams comprising more than 1680 rescuers along with 199 inflatable rubber boats and other lifesaving equipment have been deployed in various parts of Andhra and Odisha to meet any challenges arising due to the cyclonic storm.

Malkangiri, which is likely to be among the worst hit areas, is already experiencing heavy rainfall and strong winds. One ‘kuchha’ house at Gudguta village was damaged as a tree fell on it but there was no report of any casualty from anywhere in the district.

The government has deployed 25 units – 15 of NDRF and 10 of ODRF, each comprising 40 personnel, besides fire service men in vulnerable places in different parts of the state, the SRC said.

As the southern part of the state is likely to be more affected by the cyclonic storm, heavy rainfall and consequent floods, collectors of the eight districts have been asked to carefully assess and evacuate all vulnerable population to safe buildings, Chief Secretary G C Pati said.

Army personnel have been kept ready in Visakhapatnam, while the Eastern Naval Command has kept four ships on stand-by, equipped with rescue equipment and relief materials.

Six aircrafts are standing by at the Naval Air Station INS Dega to undertake reconnaissance, rescue, casualty evacuation and air drop of relief materials.

The South Central Railway has announced cancellation of several trains including Tirupati-Puri-Secunderabad, Tirupati-Visakhapatnam, Secunderabad-Visakhapatnam, Bhubaneswar-Tirupati, Bhubaneswar-Secunderabad and Visakhapatam-Nizamabad.