Visakhapatnam/Rajahmundry/Srikakulam: As Cyclone Hudhud is inching closer toward Vizag coast, massive evacuation has begun and holidays have been declared for schools and colleges.
Hudhud is now 470 km off Vizag coast and has intensified into Very Severe Cyclone on Friday evening. NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission satellite indicated that the storm is getting stronger and more organised.
It is being strongly predicted that the storm crosses North Andhra Coast close to Visakhapatnam on Sunday morning.
Apart from heavy rainfall, squally winds also will start from Saturday evening in Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, East Godavari and southern parts of Odisha state.
Deputy chief minister N. Chinna Rajappa said that nearly 4.56 lakh people from 500 coastal villages in 63 mandals of six districts from Srikakulam to West Godavari will be evacuated.
The Dy Chief Minister N. Chinna Rajappa said they would be shifted to safer places and will be accommodated in 392 relief camps.
Authorities in all the five coastal districts, Vizag, Vizianagaram, Srikakulam, West and East Godavari are making arrangements to evacuate the people from vulnerable areas along the coast to safety.
Essential commodities are stocked up at important places and a close watch is being kept on canals and drains to bridge any possible breaches in case of heavy downpour.
By Friday evening many areas in North Andhra districts have started experiencing rainfall and thundershowers. Heavy rainfall and gusting winds are expected to start from Saturday morning, according to Met Department.
Heavy rainfall would occur in all the five coastal districts. The wind speed would gradually increase to 130-140 kmph gusting to 155 kmph on Sunday morning. In Vizag district, administration has braced for Hudhud.
NDRF teams, Army, Navy and other disaster response forces are being deployed to face the tough situation during landfall. District collector N. Yuvaraj, interacting with media on Friday, said they had put the administration on high alert at all vulnerable mandals from Bheemili to Payakaraopet keeping in view of storm surge at low lying areas.
He said they had identified 57 areas at risk and around 30,000-35,000 people would be shifted to safer places since the places are close to coast. Yuvaraj said 40 relief camps have been planned for supporting the people and had started shifting food material, milk, medicines, and kerosene to these centres from Friday.
Fifteen teams of Navy, NDRF forces and other state level disaster response forces would be positioned at various locations by Saturday evening to take up relief measures during and after landfall of the cyclone.
Senior official said they had received 14 satellite phones for all three districts that include six for Visakhapatnam and VHF sets of police would also be utilised when communication disturbs.
In East Godavari, authorities identified 13 mandals from Tuni to Sakhinetipalli located along the coast to be affected and efforts are on to evacuate about 52,000 people to 72 relief centres.
East Godavari Collector Neethu Kumari Prasad advised the people to stay put at home from Sunday noon and asked the petty vendors not carry out any business during that time.
In West Godavari, the authorities identified 31 villages from Mogaltur, Yalamanchali, Kalla, Narasapuram and Bhimavaram mandals to be affected and efforts are on to evacuate them to relief camps based on the need. Many trains were either cancelled or diverted on Saturday and Sunday due to impending danger of cyclone ....