Hudhud leaves behind trail of devastation

RSTV Bureau

hudhud_cyclone2Cyclone Hudhud caused an extensive damage in the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha followed by heavy rain falls and winds of almost 200 kmph on Sunday. Eight people were killed in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha after this terrific cyclone. Vishakapatnam was the worst affected in the related Hudhud incident.

As a precautionary measure, over four lakh people–about 250,000 in four districts of AP and 156,000 in nine districts of Odisha—were evacuated to relief camps and more will be shifted to safer places depending upon water levels, officials said.

As cyclone Hudhud weakened and moved to Chhattisgarh, Odisha Government on Monday braced for relief and rehabilitation in the affected southern districts where its damaged houses and uprooted trees even as heavy rainfall was expected to lash these areas.

Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Mohapatra said that there has not been much damage so far in the storm but scores of trees and electricity poles had been knocked over in Potangi area of Koraput district as the system passed through the region after making landfall near Visakhapatnam.

The SRC 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.

NDRF and ODRAF teams were now gearing up for post-cyclone operations in order to restore normalcy in the cyclone affected areas, official sources said.

Steps have been initiated to restore power supply in some areas in south Odisha wehre electric poles and other systems had been affected, the sources said.

Railway line was badly damaged in Visakhapatnam, where the airport was also affected as heavy downpour and gusty winds downed hundreds of electric poles, trees and hoardings and blew away light-weight objects and vulnerable roof-tops.

While bus services were resuming to some places on Monday, the railway was also planning to run trains up to Palasa, the sources said.

Latest weather bulletin said Hudhud lay centred very close to south Chhattisgarh and adjoining southwest Odisha. It would move north-northwestwards and weaken gradually.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to AP Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and discussed relief and rescue measures and promised all possible assistance, as NDRF teams were pressed into service.

“The situation is serious,” Naidu said, as he requested the Centre to declare the cyclone a ‘national calamity’.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had on Sunday spoke to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and apprised him of the Odisha government’s preparedness.

The government said that district officials, heads of departments and every government employee would be on field for relief, restoration and rehabilitation works. The Chief Minister has directed Hyderabad-headquartered National Remote Sensing Centre to use GIS, GPS and remote sensing technologies to spot the damage and put them on the satellite through geo-tagging. This would enable the government to have the data on damages on the map.

“The government was able to reduce loss of life due to the precautionary measures taken,” Naidu said and directed officials to take up restoration work on a war-footing from on Monday.

The state government has issued an order deputing senior officers to supervise rescue, relief and rehabilitation measures and coordinate with Commissioner (Disaster Management), NDMA and NDRF and other authorities.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit cyclone-hit Visakhapatnam on Monday to take stock of the situation .