Relief operations begin in cyclone-hit Andhra

Visakhapatnam (IANS): Relief operations began Monday in Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam city and other coastal areas, a day after severe cyclonic storm ‘Hudhud’ made the landfall, leaving a trail of destruction and killing five people.

With rains receding in the cyclone-hit areas and intensity of gales also coming down, people came out of their houses, only to find that the scale of devastation is much higher than anticipated.

National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams with personnel from various government departments began clearing felled trees, electricity and communication poles and hoardings from roads.

While precautionary measures helped in minimising the loss of human lives, the cyclone disrupted electricity and communication networks, paralysed transport and damaged over thousands of acres of crops.

Visakhapatnam, also known as Vizag, bore the brunt of Hudhud, which hit its coast with the speed of 185 kmph. Hundreds of vehicles parked on roads were damaged while heavy rains inundated few colonies.

Airport, railways and bus stations were also hit in Vizag, which remained without electricity for the second consecutive day. With the collapsing of communication networks, mobile phones are non-functional here.

With no drinking water, milk and other essential commodities, people are facing severe hardships.

Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, who is about to reach Vizag, said 500,000 people in four districts were shifted to relief camps.