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Hudhud spared Odisha, ravaged Visakhapatnam

Ending days of apprehension, Hudhud made its landfall on Sunday noon sparing Odisha much of its fury as the State Government went about a massive evacuation exercise to minimise the damage.

“We have not received any report of large scale damage following cyclone except some cases of tree and electric poles getting uprooted. However, there may be a flood-like situation in southern districts as the cyclone will be followed by heavy rains,” said Special Relief Commissioner PK Mohapatra at a press briefing in Bhubaneswar.

After shifting over 2 lakh people in 10 districts to safer grounds, the State Government anxiously waited for the storm to cross the land near Visakhapatnam and heaved a huge sigh of relief after the gale wind did not cross 70-80 km per hour limit in the vulnerable eight districts.

The storm, though, has left three persons dead in different parts of the State and all the casualties were reported on Saturday. While a six-year old girl had drowned in Kendrapara’s Magarkunda on Saturday morning, another casualty was reported from the same village later in the evening. A fisherman of Puri’s Penthakata was killed last night when he was hit by a fishing boat while trying to retrieve his vessel.

The cyclone, that made landfall in Visakhapatnam around noon, sent hoardings and tin roofs flying like saucers, shattered windows leaving the streets littered with glass shreds, toppled over statues of leaders in many places as well as landmarks like the replica of the navy airplane on RK Beach. Scores of electricity and telephone poles were knocked down and thousands of trees uprooted as strong gales accompanied by heavy rainfall lashed the city right from Sunday morning to evening.

Essential services were disrupted and people remained indoors to escape nature’s fury. With winds touching a speed of around 180-195kmph during landfall, waves as high as two to three metres surged along the Beach Road. In fact, such was Hudhud’s fury that even chief minister dared not enter the Port City and had to it cool his heels at Gannavaram awaiting the clearance of roadblocks like uprooted trees and collapsed walls on NH-16 to proceed to Vizag.

Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh government had sought help from neighbouring states, Special Relief Commissioner PK Mohapatra said the chief minister will take the final call on this.

“It’s time to reciprocate because Andhra Pradesh had assisted us during the 1999 super cyclone which had devastated the state. They are seeking help of experts to clear uprooted trees and electric poles that had blocked the roads. However, it is for the chief minister to take the final call on this,” said Mohapatra.

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