10:46 pm - Saturday December 15, 2018

Cyclone Hudhud: Focus shifts to relief; PM to visit Visakhapatnam tomorrow

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Visakhapatnam: Port city Visakhaptanam is slowly limping back to normalcy, a day after Cyclone Hudhud hammered in at with wind speed of up to 195kmph.

Hudhud has moved inland is now a deep depression centred over south Chhattisgarh. Wind speed has also decreased considerably but heavy rains are likely to continue over north coastalAndhra Pradesh and Odisha.

Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Telangana, south Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, east Uttar Pradesh ands parts of Maharashtra will also receive rain fall in the next 24 hours.

The Centre is keeping a close watch. Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “Have been constantly taking updates on Cyclone Hudhud. Spoke to AP CM. Will visit Visakhapatnam tomorrow and take stock of the situation.”

Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to CMs of Bihar, Jharkhand,MP, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal to take stock of the situation.

“The States seem to be prepared for any eventuality arising from the impact of ‘Hudhud’ that is expected to bring heavy rains,” Singh posted on Twitter.

With the eye of the storm crossing the coast near Visakhapatnam, the teeming city of over two million people bore the brunt of its wrath. With no drinking water, milk and other essential commodities, people are facing severe hardships.

Communication and electricity lines are down in major parts of the city. Toppled trees, broken glass are strewn on the streets even as the district administration has begun operations on a war footing to clear the mess.

The Vizag airport that operates from naval airbase INS Dega bore the brunt of the cyclone. Srong gales damaged the roof of the airport building and flood water had entered the runway, forcing the authorities to suspend all operations. While runway operations are expected to resume by noon today, the airport terminal, which has suffered serious damage, may require extensive repair before it becomes operational again.

Visakhapatnam airport is the biggest domestic and international airport in Andhra Pradesh.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has demanded that Cyclone Hudhud be declared a national calamity and that the Centre release Rs 2000 crore as interim relief.

Naidu is expected in Vizag today to direct relief and restoration work in the region.

Andhra government is focusing on bringing life back to normal in the districts of Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram which bore the brunt of the cyclonic fury. The government said that district officials, heads of departments and every government employee would be on field for relief, restoration and rehabilitation works.

Six people – three each in Odisha and AP – have lost in the cyclone tragedy.

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) will hold a meeting in Delhi today to access the situation. The Indian Navy is also assisting the operations with a P 8I long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft, based in Chennai, expected to carry out damage assessment of the coastal areas hit by the cyclone.

Indian army personnel are present in the affected area to assist in relief work.

A little 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 before Cyclone Hudhud made landfall.

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