As efforts are on a war-footing to restore normalcy to Srikakulam district in Andhra Pradesh, that was battered by cyclone ‘Titli’ on October 11, the state government has deputed 15 ministers, 35 IAS officers, and over 100 deputy collectors to resolve various issues including power and water supply.
Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and his son, IT and Panchayati Raj Minister N Lokesh Naidu, are also camping in Palasa town near Srikakulam since four days directing the relief operations. The government has deputed one minister and four or five IAS officers and 10 deputy collector-level officers to each of the 13 mandals to oversee relief camps, organise food and water supply, enumerate damages to houses, crops, and livestock and arrange for compensation immediately.
Although the death toll was less with nine killed, the severe cyclonic storm which made landfall near Palasa with wind speeds of 175 kms per hour, uprooted thousands of electricity and telecommunication poles, devastated coconut and cashew orchards, and flattened standing crops. The heavy rains accompanying the cyclone caused flash floods which destroyed rural water supply systems.
Officials said that a population of 12.38 lakh in 872 villages in 13 mandals was affected by the cyclone and over 30,000 houses were damaged. The cyclone knocked out the power supply to 4,319 villages but by Tuesday, supply was restored to more than 3,500 villages. Crops in 1.39 lakh hectares have been destroyed while horticulture in 14,378 hectares has been flattened.
The chief minister today visited Palasa town and nearby areas and spoke to people about the problems they were facing. Lokesh Naidu, who is camping in Palasa and overseeing the restoration of power supply and distribution of drinking water packets, said that power should be restored in the next 48 hours. All the affected villages are receiving drinking water through tankers or water packets as of now. Today morning, ITC company officials met Lokesh at Mandasa RDO office and handed over 1,15,200 biscuit packets, 25000 kgs wheat flour, 1,00,800 noodles packets for distribution in cyclone-affected regions.
Amara Raja group owned by TDP MP Galla Jayadev’s family has handed over emergency phone charging stations at Mandasa RDO office. These were dispatched to various villages still without power supply so that people who were deprived of communication facility for the past one week can charge their mobile phones.
Srikakulam District Collector Dhananjay Reddy said the administration is now concentrating on preventing the spread of diseases since the flood waters receded. Several mobile clinics have been dispatched and many health camps have been started in the 18 affected mandals. Teams of health officials are also doing a door-to-door check in the villages.