Cyclone Hudhud: Death toll climbs to 21 on Andhra coast, Vizag struggles to regain normalcy
Visakhapatnam/New Delhi: Death toll in Hudhud cyclonic storm that struck the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh on Monday rose to 21, with sixteen more people reported to have died, authorities said.
“Fifteen deaths were reported from Visakhapatnam district, five in Vizianagaram and one in Srikakulam,” Special Commissioner in State Disaster Management Authority, K Hymavathi said. Advisor (Communications) to Government, Parakala Prabhakar said most of the deaths occurred due to falling of trees on the victims.
Authorities said on Sunday the storm had claimed five lives as torrential rains and gale force winds packing a speed of nearly 200 kmph pounded Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts.
The picturesque port town of Visakhapatnam, a major industrial, educational and tourism hub in the east coast, is still reeling under the impact of havoc caused by the cyclonic storm Hudhud and is picking up pieces from a trail of destruction left behind by the calamity.
Under the impact of Hudhud that made a landfall here yesterday, accompanied by gusty winds and heavy rains, the city looks like a war-ravaged zone with uprooted trees, knocked down cell towers, transformers, and telephone poles lying strewn at several places.
Communication systems and electricity broke down in the city since Saturday night and people at many a places are falling back on radio to know the updates about the cyclone.
Hudhud did not spare Visakhapatnam airport either blowing away its roof in gales. Lights and boards in the facility are either knocked down on ground or swept away. "We were scared. We closed windows but the sound of winds itself was scary," a woman resident said.
The flood water has entered residential and apartment complexes at some places and it needs to be pumped out now.
"Visakhapatnam is a place I like very much. But, it is painful to see the city this way today," said Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu who is camping in the city to oversee relief operations.
The residents of the port city, who were confined to their homes, ventured out today with dry weather prevailing after Hudhud tapered off into a deep depression over south Chhattisgarh and its neighbourhood as per the IMD bulletin issued this morning.
Long queues were witnessed at petrol pumps and citizens sought to buy essential food items like milk.
The National Highway 5 (Kolkata-Chennai) was shut as a precautionary measure and uprooted trees and electric poles disrupted the flow of traffic in the city.
With rescue workers, including NDRF personnel, clearing the way, traffic movement revived this afternoon.
Naidu, who undertook an aerial survey of the city today and later held a review with officials, said he would stay put till confidence is instilled among citizens that they can get on with their normal routine.
Andhra Pradesh utilities battle odds to start power supply
Andhra Pradesh power utilities are putting efforts to restore power supply, which was disrupted due to the devastation caused by cyclonic storm Hudhud in Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts.
Energy Secretary Ajay Jain, continuously reviewing the cyclone relief works with regard to power sector, said the cyclone, gale and wind gushing at around 200 kmph caused severe faults which in turn damaged the sub-station equipment, poles, transformers apart from the transmission and distribution lines in affected areas on the state coastline.
"The restoration/relief operations are in full swing in the cyclone-affected areas," Jain said, adding that two 400 KV sub-stations, ten number of 220 KV sub-stations, 25 number of 132 KV sub-stations were severely hit by the cyclone.
(Photo: Murali Krishna)
He said that around 20,000 poles were either broken or damaged apart from shutting down of 2,000 MW Simhadri power plant.
Jain, along with the senior officers of the Energy department, are put up in State Load Dispatch Centre/Vidyut Soudha here for effective monitoring and are personally supervising the power supply restoration works on minute-wise basis.
Meanwhile, power supply to Simhadri 2,000 MW power plant at Visakhpatnam is restored from Vemagiri 400 KV sub-station.
Officials are putting up efforts to arrange alternate supply from different station sources to Visakhapatnam by tonight, the officer said.
"Cyclone has affected power supply in Visakhapatnam and Vizianagaram badly and it was partially affected in Srikakulam district. All engineers, employees, are putting all-out efforts without availing any leave/holiday during this period of natural calamity," Jain said.
K Vijayanand, CMD, APTRANSCO and MD, APGENCO who had rushed to Visakhapatnam for looking after the restoration works, has informed that 2,000 personnel consisting of engineers and workers are deployed by APSPDCL to cyclone-hit areas of Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram, Srikakulam which come under the jurisdiction of APEPDCL.
Meanwhile, the Telangana government has dispatched material worth of Rs 13 crore from here to Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts for restoration of power supply at the earliest. Karnataka and Tamil Nadu governments have also extended the full support to AP government by deploying men and material for restoration operations.