At least three people were killed today in rainrelated incidents in Andhra Pradesh as the very severe cyclonic storm Hudhud made landfall at Visakhapatnam this morning inflicting a heavy damage in the district and nearby areas damaging houses, power lines and uprooting trees and hoardings. More than two lakh people were evacuated from low lying areas from the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh and sheltered in about 400 relief centres after sea and flood waters entered their habitations.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who spoke to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu over phone, assured the latter of all possible Central assistance. During the cyclone, winds with 195200 kmph speed had been reported causing uprooting of a lot of trees and electric poles. The wind also damaged mobile towers affecting communication network in Visakhapatnam and other areas. Authorities asked the people of Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts to stay back in their houses and if the walls of their houses are weak they can shift to cyclone relief centres.
Two people died after trees fell on them and one in collapse of compoundwall in Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam districts respectively. The port town of Visakhapatnam bore the brunt of Hudhud, which made landfall at the city at around 1130 hrs. Mr Naidu, who has been constantly reviewing the situation since last night, said due to the precautionary measures taken by the state government, loss of life and damage to property could be minimised. He said the state government was working closely with the Centre to tackle the situation.
During his telephonic conversation with the Prime Minister, Mr Naidu urged Mr Modi to extend all possible Central assistance for taking up relief works in the cyclonehit districts. The Chief Minister was rushing to Visakhapatnam to supervise the relief and rescue operations and he might camp in the port town for about three days. The radar communication centre in Visakhapatnam has been shut temporarily after rain water entered the centre.
The naval communication system too was affected, sources said. The cyclone badly effected the rail and other modes of transport in the state with all trains bound to Visakhapatnam and Bhubaneswar were being cancelled till tomorrow afternoon and trains bound to Howrah being diverted via., Vijayawada, Kazipet, Balharshah and Nagpur. A total of 62 trains were cancelled, five were partially cancelled and 51 trains diverted. As Hudhud made a landfall in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said more than 68,000 people were evacuated and the state administration was prepared to face the eventuality.
The cyclone had its impact on Odisha districts like Ganjam, Gajapati, Koraput, Puri, Kalahandi and Kendrapara. Under the impact of the cyclone, the entire coastal and southern region experienced moderate to heavy rainfall since early morning though the maximum wind speed was 60 to 70 kmph.
The Centre was closely monitoring the situation in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha with Home Minister Rajnath Singh speaking to chief ministers of both the states. He assured Mr Naidu and Naveen Patnaik of full cooperation from the Centre and all possible assistance to face any emergent situation post Hudhud’s landfall. Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth was in touch with both the states, the sources said adding that he also chaired a crisis management meeting over the situation. Indian Army, Air Force and Navy had been geared up for undertaking relief operations in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.
The Air Force has pressed its IL76, one C17 and 5 AN32 aircraft into relief operations from Chandigarh, Delhi and Jorhat, respectively. Indian Air Force has positioned three Chetak choppers at Hyderabad, two Medium Light Helicopter each at Barrackpore, Nagpur and Ranchi in readytofly conditions. Indian Coast Guard has deployed 17 ships, two Air Cushion Vessels (ACVs) and nine aircraft in Eastern and NorthEastern regions to augment the rescue and relief operations, wherever required. Out of 17 ships, six ships and five aircraft have been stationed at Chennai, six ships at Kakinada, three at Vishakhapatnam, four ships at Paradip and one ship, two ACVs and four aircraft at Haldia, defence sources said.
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) as a part of proactive measures has deployed 42 rescue and relief teams (24 in Andhra Pradesh and 18 in Odisha) comprising 1775 personnel.
NDRF teams were equipped with 214 rescue boats and placed in the vulnerable locations, which were identified by the respective state governments. NDRF teams also saved six persons who were marooned in a Charland at village Ponnada, Etcherla Mondal, Srikakulam during the ongoing cyclone Hudhud. So far, NDRF has evacuated approx 11,885 (11,295 persons in Andhra Pradesh and 590 persons in Odisha).
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) had said after 1300 hrs ‘Hudhud’ was expected to lose half its intensity in six hours. The cyclone, after crossing the coast, will lose its intensity rapidly because the terrain is mountainous, IMD Director General LS Rathore said in New Delhi. He said within six hours, it was expected to lose wind speed by 50 percent and in another six hours it will lost another 50 per cent speed and become a depression. However, he said this depression will cause more heavy rains. Apart from Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, very heavy rainfall will also be experienced in Telangana, East Viadarbha, East Madhya Pradesh, East UP, Bihar, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. He said after tomorrow morning, helicopters and aircrafts will be able to carry rescue operations as the wind speed was expected to decrease significantly by that time.
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