Andhra Pradesh: Toll rises to 21, Hudhud brings Visakhapatnam to its kneeshttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/%ef%bb%bf%ef%bb%bftoll-at-21-hudhud-brings-visakhapatnam-to-its-knees/

Andhra Pradesh: Toll rises to 21, Hudhud brings Visakhapatnam to its knees

No power, no water, no fuel : ‘A cyclone of this intensity has shown the city is vulnerable’

Boats damaged by the cyclone in Visakhapatnam on Monday. (Reuters)
Boats damaged by the cyclone in Visakhapatnam on Monday. (Reuters )

The death toll in Andhra Pradesh rose to 21 on Monday, with officials saying that most people died when trees or walls fell on them in Visakhapatnam (15 deaths), Vizianagaram (5) and Srikakulam (1).

Special commissioner for disaster management K Hymavathi said 320 villages have been affected and 5,727 electricity transformers have been damaged. At least 400 government buildings and public properties have also been damaged. About 2.48 lakh people have been affected and are being provided shelter and food in 320 camps. The government has opened 223 medical camps in affected areas.

A view of the damaged airport after Hudhud Cyclone in Vishakapatnam. (Source: PTI)
A view of the damaged airport after Hudhud Cyclone in Vishakapatnam. (Source: PTI)

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu is camping in Visakhapatnam to monitor relief efforts.

In spite of strong lobbying, this could be one reason why Visakhapatnam lost out in the race to become Andhra’s capital: In a crisis like a cyclone, the city cannot function.

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No power, no water, no fuel and no essential commodities some 24 hours after cyclone Hudhud ravaged it, the city is struggling to find its feet. Investor confidence has taken a beating as a complete picture of the devastation begins to emerge.

“It was always thought that the range of low-lying hills and its location abutting into the coast would protect Vizag, but a cyclone of this intensity has shown the city is vulnerable,” says P Vishnu Raju, MLA from Vizag North.

Visakhapatnam-cyclone

Hotels, corporates, fuel outlets, airport, railways and IT companies have taken a hit. With communications paralysed or networks overwhelmed, the city came to a grinding halt on Monday. Employees of government and private companies reported for work Monday morning but found their offices in a mess.

Only three chambers outside District Collector Yuvaraj’s room were running on backup power. A police official on special duty struggled to make wireless contact with those in the field, while the few landlines that were working were overwhelmed with calls reporting uprooted trees.

Some Vizag residents converted the unofficial holiday into a picnic, flocking to the beach to watch the cyclone’s aftereffect — huge waves crashing into the shore. “I came out after two days looking for milk. Amazed to see the devastation. My little daughter keeps asking why is everything is broken,” said KV Murthy, a shipping company employee. “Everything is closed and essential commodities are not available. ”

The NH-9 and state highways are not yet fully open as fire and emergency, municipal and NDRF teams struggled to clear fallen trees and poles.

Without power, fuel outlets remained closed affecting transport. Andhra’s Transmission Corporation officials said that as power lines had fallen everywhere, it was risky to restore power even partially in some areas. The closure of NTPC’s Simhadri unit is a big blow to power generation.

Hundreds of Greater Vizag Municipal Corporation workers, armed with axes and chainsaws, were on the streets trying to clear trees and debris. The state government is struggling to get a grip on the situation and hundreds of officials have been sent into the affected areas to assess the dama

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