Visakhapatnam: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced an interim relief of Rs. 1000 crore to Andhra Pradesh for the devastation caused by Cyclone Hudhud in Vishakapatnam and other coastal areas.
“The Centre is fully with the people of Andhra pradesh. Both governments are working hand in hand,” Modi told reporters at Vishakapatnam.
Modi made the announcement after visiting parts of the worst-affected port city and a review meeting with chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and top officials.
Modi, who made an aerial survey of the affected areas of both north coastal Andhra and Odisha, also declared Rs. 2 lakh from Prime Minister’s Relief Fund for families of each of those killed and Rs. 50,000 to every injured.
He said the cyclone caused huge losses at a time when he was planning to develop Visakhapatnam into a smart city. He, however, exuded confidence that the central and state government will work together to overcome the challenge.
Naidu had earlier sought Rs. 2,000 crore as interim assistance and also wanted Modi to declare it a national calamity.
Modi said the Centre and Andhra Pradesh government worked in perfect coordination “minute-to-minute” over the past five days to tackle the challenge posed by the cyclone which claimed 24 lives and left a trail of devastation in the coastal areas.
The local bodies, he said, also rose up to the task.”It is important to note that a crisis of any magnitude can be overcome if the state and Centre work should-to-shoulder,” he said.
The prime minister said the meteorological department had correctly forecast from October six itself the different aspects of the cyclone like its velocity, direction and time, leveraging the power of technology.
“The use of technology has helped in overcoming this crisis,” the prime minister said.
Modi appreciated the residents of Visakhapatnam for following the directions of the government with discipline at the time of crisis, helping save precious lives.
More than 50 hours after Cyclone Hudhud struck , there is a severe shortage of essential commodities in port city of Vishakapatnam, with people scrambling for milk, drinking water, vegetables and petrol even as power supply is yet to be restored.
Some residents complained that they are not getting drinking water and milk. Long queues were seen at petrol stations, where people have milled around for refill.
A resident pleaded with folded hands: “For people of Visakhapatnam, please give drinking water and other essential commodities. I have not seen such a bad situation in my life.”
“The drinking water and milk costing Rs. 20 each are being sold for Rs. 50 as black-marketeers are having a field day,” an angry resident said.
The water supply in Visakhapatnam would be restored by this evening, chief minister Naidu said. “We are procuring tankers from East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna and Guntur districts. By evening, all would be able to take bath,” he said.
“Some people are selling essential items at high prices. It is not fair to try to exploit the situation. We have taken a decision to provide packages of food items in all cyclone-hit areas,” he said.
Authorities worked to restore communication lines, removing trees and electric poles and were trying to get air and train services back on track after strong winds damaged railroads and the airport.
“We need at least 100 years to rebuild our beautiful city,” said a worker, cutting an uprooted tree outside the collectorate.
The Visakhapatnam airport has been damaged with passenger terminals ravaged and the roof blown away.
The fishing harbour here also bore the brunt of the cyclone fury with scores of boats getting sunk and damaged, officials said.
Relief teams were working round the clock to restore essential services, Visakhapatnam district collector N Yuvraj said.
The government is using Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp to reach out to people.
Chief minister Naidu, who took a tour of some of the worst-hit areas on Tuesday, also visited a petrol pump to find out from the residents about the problem.
The state government, aided by NDRF and army personnel, began a massive relief operation on a war footing and facilitated flow of traffic on some of the major roads by removing the debris.
Besides Visakhapatnam, the other north coastal Andhra districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and East Godavari have suffered widespread damage.
The gusty winds, with a speed of 170-180 kmph uprooted trees, electric poles and roofs of thatched houses all over the city when the storm made landfall and crossed the coast on Sunday last.