Cyclone Hudhud: Vizag back on its feet, throngs beach

Energy Secretary said power supply was restored to all hospitals, drinking water supply facilities, and railways.

Written by Sreenivas Janyala | Visakhapatnam | Updated: October 16, 2014 8:38 am
Relief and Rehabilitation work in full swing after the devastating Hudhud Cyclone hit Vizag on Wednesday. (Source: PTI Photo) Relief and Rehabilitation work in full swing after the devastating Hudhud Cyclone hit Vizag on Wednesday. (Source: PTI Photo)

Visakhapatnam found its feet and spirit back after spending two days without water and fuel in the aftermath of cyclone Hudhud that hit the eastern coast of Andhra Pradesh on Sunday evening.

With water supply being restored and diesel available to run generators at homes  and plenty of petrol for the vehicles, the city rediscovered its happy-go-lucky spirit back as thousand of people thronged the beach. It turned out to be a picnic for all.

The Beach Road and the R K Beach were choked with people since late Wednesday afternoon.

With no power supply, it was a holiday of sorts for everyone, except the government employees who were engaged in the relief work. “No office, no work. No power and no TV. Fortunately, we got petrol, so we came to beach for fun,’’ said Satish Rao, a bank employee, accompanied with his friends.

The power supply was restored in certain areas on Wednesday evening. Energy Secretary Ajay Jain said power supply was restored to all hospitals, drinking water supply facilities, and railways. Parts of Vizianagaram and Srikakulam will get power within next 48 hours, he said.

Learning its lessons from the damages, the electricity department is now planning to lay underground power cable network for Visakhapatnam city as a long-term measure. This could cost up to Rs 600 crores.

Armed Forces personnel carry out relief works in an area hit by the cyclonic storm Hudhud in Visakhapatnam. (Source: PTI Photo) Armed Forces personnel carry out relief works in an area hit by the cyclonic storm Hudhud in Visakhapatnam. (Source: PTI Photo)

Even as water supply got resumed Wednesday morning, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation stationed water tankers everywhere in the city in case some areas did not get water. After a warning from Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, hundreds of workers descended on the streets to clear fallen trees and debris. Mobile phone services were restored partially.

Chandrababu Naidu works from bus, announces free rations for all

People in Hudhud-hit districts of Andhra Pradesh from Thursday would get free supply of essential food items from fair price shops and PDS outlets, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said on Wednesday.

The state government has also sent 1.5 lakh kg vegetables to local markets to bring down prices in the cyclone-affected areas.
Each relief packet — to be made available at fair price shops and PDS outlets  — would contain one kg rice, dal, oil, salt and chilli power.

naidu

“The arrangement has been made for six to eight lakh affected families in Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram, and Srikakulam. It is free. The cyclone has affected poor and rich alike and everyone who need these essential supplies is welcome to take it from the fair price shops,” Naidu told The Indian Express before he left for tribals areas of Aaraku and Paderu.

The CM, who himself is sleeping in a modified bus parked at Visakhapatnam District Collectorate since Monday morning, said:  “I will not return to Hyderabad till normalcy is restored and the last affected person is taken care of”.  He on Wednesday toured Visakhapatnam rural, Vizianagram and Srikakulam districts.

Naidu said, “I have told police to arrest any government official who shows up at my office just to make a courtesy call. They should be out in the field, working. When I am touring affected areas if any government officer or his vehicle joins my convoy unnecessarily, police will seize it.”

Besides resuming water supply, 200 tankers gave drinking water to people in the city.

“The delay in restoring power supply is because we want to ensure that the restored poles do not trip,” Naidu said. Despite Visakhapatnam and other districts going without power for 72 hours, the government has managed to supply water, he added.

Coastline stripped off its green cover

The north Andhra coast has been completely stripped off its greenery. The once scenic coastline now looks desolate and barren. Lakhs of trees — including teak, cashew, coconut, eucalyptus, palm, neem and other species — were uprooted due to the 200-km per hour winds that accompanied cyclone Hudhud. “We have lost 99 per cent green cover on the north Andhra coast,” said Andhra University Vice-Chancellor G S N Raju.

Lamenting that over 5,000 trees in the 600-acre AU campus had been uprooted, he said, “The university campus was the greenest place in this city. Some of the trees here were 40 to 50 years old. But not a single tree stands today. Across the city, thousands of trees have fallen. I don’t think in my lifetime we will see such greenery again,” Raju said.

Civic authorities say at least 80 per cent of city’s green cover spread over 600 sq km is gone.The beautiful and scenic Kailashgiri, a hill overlooking the Bay of Bengal, developed into a famous tourist spot, has also been destroyed. A favoured spot for film shooting, the hillside is now littered with uprooted trees. “It has turned into a desert overnight. All the beauty is gone,” a guard who was stopping people from going uphill said. The beautiful Rushikonda Hills and Aaraku Valley have also turned into a barren stretch.

Officials said all trees had been unprooted in the Vizag Steel Plant and township area which reportedly had 50 lakh trees. Thousands of birds have perished, and according to officials without any trees left, birds would continue to die daily.

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  1. T
    Test Test
    Oct 17, 2014 at 10:02 am
    There is no power, no banks are working , no ATM's are working and nothing is working. From where do you think the people who has money will get the money from. So CM has taken an initiative to provide free ration till everything gets alright to provide basic living.Who are you to say that there are no better days for INDIA. Sitting in front of computer and typing some doesn't makes you great. Just go out and do your part.
    Reply
  2. K
    kvl
    Oct 16, 2014 at 8:00 am
    Give to the real victims or worthy,why free to all?have others have no money?this way government encourages laziness.We have seen all thronging and grabbing the ration without any Q system,IS this the way to distribute?Who are not victims or muscleman knock away the commodities depriving the real ones. Water can be supplied freely but not rations. Already the state is in turmoil and financial debt. how can he give freebies? ITis very unfortunate that when leaders are trying to do some good to the public this kind of calamities taking place,throwing into more financial expenditure and displacing all plans. No better days for India? so many mishaps happening .Now the border disputes ,Kashmir issue,also emerging(covering under the carpet, all these days) which requires so much activity and work force.Army warning about the IS is also a matter for concern.
    Reply
  3. A
    Anjan
    Oct 16, 2014 at 3:30 am
    Take a look at the picture on the electric pole the worker has no shoes no gloves no helmet no safety harness a pity that the electric companies do not even provide basic safety equipment.
    Reply