State

Cyclone Hudhud Races Towards Andhra Pradesh and Odisha

Berhampur, Oct 11: Authorities in several districts in southern Odisha and northern Andhra Pradesh have been put on high alert as Hudhud, a very severe cyclonic storm, races towards the two states. The cyclone is expected to make landfall around Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh on Sunday before noon, according to the Meteorological department.

Hudhud was classified as a "very severe cyclonic storm" yesterday. The Met department has warned that the sea condition would be "rough to very rough" from today morning in these districts. "It would gradually become phenomenal from Sunday morning", warns the bulletin.

The Odisha government has asked collectors of southern districts - Malkangiri, Koraput, Nabarangpur, Rayagada, Gajapati, Ganjam, Kalahandi and Kandhamal  - to start evacuating those living along the coast to safe buildings and cyclone centres.

The East Coast Railway has decided to cancel the services of 38 trains on the Bhubaneswar-Visakhapatnam route from 6 am tomorrow. "We do not want even a single casualty," said an official of the railway, adding, "The entire section would be closed to all Mail, Express and Passenger trains".

The Indian Army and the National Disaster Response Force have said they are fully geared to face the approaching cyclone. The Army and the Navy have kept their teams in stand-by mode to undertake relief and rescue operations as and when required.

"At least 25 teams, 15 of National Disaster Response Force and 10 Odisha Disaster Response Force, have been deployed at vulnerable areas keeping an eye on the cyclone and heavy rainfall," Odisha's Special Relief Commissioner P K Mohapatra told reporters in Bhubaneshwar.

Heavy rain is expected in some districts of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. Extremely heavy rain is likely over East Godavari, Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram, and Srikakulam districts of north coastal Andhra Pradesh from today evening.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh has already discussed preparedness with the chief ministers of the two states and also that of Telangana and offered the Centre's help. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has asked for additional satellite phones as the telecom network is expected to be affected when the cyclone hits the coast.

The Met department warns that heavy rainfall and strong winds are likely to disrupt electricity and telecommunications services, and road and rail traffic. It has warned of flooding and storm surges up to two metres (6.5 feet) in low-lying areas.

Off the coasts of Paradip, Vizag and Gopalpur, Coast Guard ships are on a sanitization drive and are helping fishermen get back to coast before the cyclone makes landfall. Coast Guard's Dornier aircrafts and Chetak helicopters are stationed at Chennai and Kolkata.

A year ago, a severe cyclone called Phailin battered the same region, also on October 12. Strong disaster preparedness, including the evacuation of nearly one million people to cyclone shelters, helped save the day.

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