Minister of State in PMO Jitendra Singh has clarified on Saturday that the ‘Hudhud’ cyclone on AP and Odisha east coast is “very severe” in scientific terms, but certainly not a “super cyclone”, citing the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), which is constantly monitoring the approach of the storm currently approaching Visakhapatnam at 100 kmph speed.
So far, the evacuation of people from the areas likely to be affected was massive at 24,000 in Visakhapatnam district alone, he said, adding that 20 teams comprising 20 officials each have been on stand by to undertake rescue and relief operations. The cyclone Hudhud is likely to hit the coast of Andhra Pradesh around 10:30 am at a speed of 180 km today, Sunday, October 12, 2014.
Apart from Visakhapatnam, other coastal districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, and East Godavari in Andhra Pradesh and two districts of Ganjam and Gajaptinagaram in Odisha are in the vicinity of Hudhud’s impact on Sunday, he said. Other districts likely to witness impact are Koraput, Malkajgiri, Raigarh and Kalahandi in Odisha.
Jitendra Singh said that ‘Hudhud’ is expected to intensify and peak to around 185 kms by today’s afternoon the information has been conveyed to the State Governments of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. In addition, heavy rains would hit in the aftermath of the cyclone in the neighbouring States like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand, he cautioned.
It was exactly a year after the Phailin cyclone hit the same region on October 12, 2013 that left behind severe damage, though officials were able to manage to bring down the number of deaths that prompted even the World Bank to praise the long-term measures undertaken by the local administration like settin up shelters and evacuating people.
The Home Ministry has launched a 24-hour helpline for cyclone-related information — 011-26107953 or 09714077371. The local district administration has started a control room in the collectorate of Guntur and District collector Kantilal Dande asked people to call the Helpline numbers — 0863-2234070/2234301 and 9849904019 — for any help.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired an emergency high-level meeting to review preparedness for the cyclone and directed the officials to ensure “zero casualty” and. So, far, 200,000 people have been evacuated from the “Ground Zero” or 396 villages to 370 safe shelters and relief centres set up.
The key national highways — the Ichapuram-Kakinada national highway and Kakinada-Uppada highway in East Godavari district were closed for the traffic due to damage and fearing high water levels in the region, following the higest level of warning signal.
In Odisha too evacuation is underway and the officials are on high vigil, said PK Mohapatra, special relief commissioner of
Odisha. “We are expecting flash floods and heavy rainfall after the cyclone hits,” he said, expalining the plans to evacuate at least 300,000 people from likely to be affected regions.
The standby measures include deployment of teams from the Armed Forces and NDRF, depletion of reservoirs to accommodate cyclonic rainwater, positioning of boats, swimmers and relief camps, and standby systems to restore power and telecom services. Tree cutters have deployed in huge numbers to clear the debris that would be left behind by the cycone Hudhud.