12:30 am - Wednesday November 4, 2015

Day after Hudhud, Andhra and Odisha step up relief work

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A day after a very severe cyclonic storm Hudhud battered the Andhra and Odisha coasts with heavy rains leaving six persons dead, the state governments continued restoration and relief works even while watching out for heavy rainfall warning.

Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu’s cabinet is expected to be in Visakhapatnam on Monday as the government focuses on bringing life back to normal in the districts of Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram which bore the brunt of the cyclonic fury.
According to the state’s revenue (disaster management) department, the deaths occurred in incidents of wall and roof collapses and uprooting of trees in the region, which was pounded by rains and gale winds at speeds ranging from 170 to 180 kmph on Sunday.

Railway lines were 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.

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

Under the influence of the system, rainfall at most places with heavy (6.5-12.4 cm) to very heavy (12.5-24.4 cm) at a few places would occur over Visakhapatnam, Vijayanagaram and Srikakulam districts of north Andhra Pradesh besides some districts of south Odisha during the next 24 hours.

Hudhud lost its intensity by evening and its speed was limited to 100-110 kmph and converted from a very severe cyclonic storm to severe storm, the IMD said on Sunday night.

The wind speeds are expected to droop to 60 kmph by Monday afternoon.

Heavy downpour was reported from the eastern parts of Andhra and southern districts of Odisha. Similar weather conditions were predicted for eastern Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh.

More than four lakh people were evacuated in the two states minimised damage to life, but rain still remains a big worry.

Mobile phones and internet connections remained down and heavy congestion in telecom traffic contributed to a communication blackout.

Naidu after chairing a high-level review meeting on Sunday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare the cyclone as a national calamity and requested an immediate relief of Rs.2,000 crore.

The chief minister said that Andhra Pradesh government, for the first time in India, used space technology with the help of Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) and National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) in disaster management.

The state government has created a Facebook page called ‘AP Disaster Management’ for which Facebook and Google have promoted and verified the page within an hour of its launch.

The government has also created #HudhudAP to reach out to people and get information from them on Twitter and Facebook. It is also using Whatsapp extensively.

Hudhud is expected to continue to dump heavy rains in northern and northeastern India and, eventually, snow when it reaches the Himalayan mountains.

The National Crisis Management Committee met Sunday to review the situation.”According to preliminary assessment…, the communication services and power and electricity have been considerably damaged in the affected districts,” an official statement said in Delhi

In Odisha, CM Naveen Patnaik reviewed rescue and relief operations. “We are constantly monitoring the situation and taking all possible precautions,” Patnaik said.

With the southern districts of Ganjam, Gajapati and Kandhamal receiving heavy rainfall, the local administration started preparations for floods if such a situation arises.

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