Bhubaneshwar/Hyderabad, Oct 11: Cyclone Hudhud has now strengthened into a very severe cyclonic storm and is fast approaching the eastern coast of India. The cyclone will make landfall near Vishakhapatnam coast in the Andhra Pradesh on Sunday afternoon while Odisha coast will also be affected. Both the state governments are on high alert and working round the clock to ensure safety of people and property.
The Odisha government seemed to have taken all possible steps to face cyclone Hudhud as it did during cyclone Phailin in 2013.
Just 48 hours before Hudhud is scheduled to make landfall in Odisha, a mock drill has been carried out at a cyclone shelter in Gopalpur. The drill has been undertaken at 340 other shelters in the state.
A resident said, "I am glad that the government is organising this. Of course, we are scared but we will have to take precautionary measures. Hopefully, we'll all be safe."
Thirty-nine NDRF teams and 12 teams of the state Disaster Rapid Action Force have been deployed in 10 districts of Odisha. There is a very real threat of flash floods as extremely heavy rain is expected.
GK Pathak, the NDRF team commander, said, "We are prepared for flood too as this is likely to happen."
Evacuation will start in Visakhapatnam on Sunday, where the cyclone is expected to make landfall. Around 75,000 people living in 50 villages will be affected. Schools and industrial units have been advised to remain shut to minimise road traffic. Fishermen have been warned not to go out to sea.
Yuvraj, Vizag District Collector, said, "The speed can go upto 180 kmph. 35,000 people have to be evacuated tomorrow. 40 relief centres have been made."
The Met Department has predicted that a storm surge from the sea will inundate low lying areas of Visakhapatnam, Vijayanagaram and Srikakulam districts of north coastal Andhra Pradesh at the time of landfall.
Keeping in mind the safety of passengers, East Coast Railway has decided to cancel the services of 38 trains on October 12 when cyclone Hudhud is expected to hit Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.
Almost exactly a year ago, cyclone Phailin made landfall at Gopalpur, the second strongest cyclone ever to hit India. But with minimal loss of life, that experience lays the foundation to tackle cyclone Hudhud.