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AP, Odisha reel under Hudhud aftermath
Naidu seeks Rs 2,000 cr aid PM to visit worst-hit Vizag today
Suresh Dharur
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, October 13
Andhra Pradesh and Odisha today grappled with the aftermath of cyclone Hudhud, a day after it ripped through the coastal areas of the two states leaving tens of thousands homeless and causing extensive damage to buildings, power and telecommunication lines.

The toll rose to 24 today with 16 more deaths being reported from Andhra Pradesh. At least five persons had died in Andhra and three in Odisha when the cyclone made landfall yesterday.

The cyclone moved to Chhattisgarh this morning turning into a “deep depression”, said Indian Meteorological Department. It was expected to weaken further into a “depression”.

While the cyclone has weakened, the authorities have sounded an alert for heavy to very heavy rainfall in the coastal districts.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today chaired a meeting in New Delhi to review the relief and rehabilitation efforts. He is expected to visit Visakhapatnam, which bore the brunt of the cyclone, on Tuesday.

Andhra Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu urged the Centre to declare Hudhud a national calamity and sought an ad hoc relief package of Rs 2,000 crore.

Naidu said the government was able to reduce loss of life due to swift evacuation of people from vulnerable areas and extensive use of technology for disaster management. Preliminary estimates suggest around 80 per cent of power and communications lines have been damaged.

“Our priority is to restore power to at least hospitals and other essential services by Tuesday afternoon,” said Naidu. Naidu and his Cabinet colleagues visited the port city to supervise relief, rehabilitation and restoration work today.

The government was deploying helicopters to drop food packets in areas that were not accessible. “I have spoken to Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal and sought Centre’s help in restoring power in the affected districts,” Naidu said.

Two 400 KV sub-stations, 10 220 KV sub-stations, 25 132 KV sub-stations were severely hit by the cyclone. Around 20,000 electricity poles were either broken or damaged apart from shutting down of the 2,000 MW Simhadri plant, an official said.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Chief Ministers of Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, which are likely to receive heavy rain in the wake of the cyclone.

Hudhud left a trail of destruction in Andhra’s three north coastal districts of Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram. These districts were without power and were facing acute shortage of essential commodities.

Odisha’s Gajapati, Koraput, Malkangiri and Rayagada were the worst affected out of the eight districts hit by the cyclone.

Over 2.50 lakh people in 320 villages have been affected by the cyclone in Andhra Pradesh. As many as 1.35 lakh people were evacuated.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said 2.33 lakh people were evacuated to safe places and were now housed in 2,029 shelter homes. Visakhapatnam presented a picture of war zone with hundreds of fallen trees, poles and other rubble blocking the roads as winds of almost 200 kmph tore away roofs and hoardings in the city.

(With agency inputs)





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