Urban Visakhapatnam bears brunt

Urban Visakhapatnam bears brunt

Urban Visakhapatnam bears brunt

Unlike the severe cyclone, Phailin, Hudhud has devastated the urban infrastructure of one the largest cities in residual Andhra Pradesh.

Phailin had brushed the state at the northern most tip, Srikakulam district during almost the same period in the last year, but Hudhud left a trail of destruction in four districts: Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam, Vizianagarm and East Godavari.

The number of people affected by Hudhud is more than 2 lakh while only 65,000 people were evacuated during Phailin. While Phailin damaged coastal roads, cashew and coconut trees and standing crops, Hudhud severed communications, power lines, damaged commercial establishments, roads, infrastructure surrounding the naval dock yard and fishing yards. For the first time, Visakhapatnam and Gangavaram ports were shut down fearing the severity of the cyclone.

State Urban Minister P Narayana said priority will be given to restore power to Visakhapatnam city and rural areas. “We are hoping that the restoration work would begin by Monday noon,” he said, reviewing the situation at the Visakhapatnam collectorate.

The minister said that 200 excavators, bulldozers and equal number of trucks will be used to clear the trees that have fallen all over the city and also on the high way. The administration is aware of the fact that the traffic passing through Visakhapatnam city and also the movement of cargo to the Port could only be restored after the trees and other debris is removed from the roads.

Railway authorities are also checking the railway lines in an effort to restore rail services.

The Visakhapatnam port, which was shut down since Saturday night, is now under knee-deep water. The airport, which also houses the INS Dega of the Eastern Naval Command, is rendered useless with the water gushing on to the runway.

Efforts are also on to pump out the water from the tarmac. The airport authorities hope that the airport will be operational by Tuesday. With the airport under water, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who rushed to Visakhapatnam from Hyderabad in a special flight, had to get down at Gannavarm airport in Vijayawada and travel to Visakhapatnam by road.

“I request the Union government to consider this as a national calamity and assist the state with financial help of at least Rs 2000 crore,” Naidu said. He said the request is based on initial estimates of the damage and the real picture would emerge after normalcy returns.