Hudhud-ravaged Vizag may take months to recover

21 dead, 170 missing

Hudhud-ravaged Vizag may take months to recover

A day after cyclone Hudhud made landfall, authorities are staring at a gigantic task of bringing the affected districts of Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh back to normalcy. 

While official figures put the toll at 21, about 170 people have been reported missing from all the three districts and 270 swimmers have been pressed into service to find them.

According to preliminary estimates, almost 80 per cent of the power and communications lines have been damaged, and it might take two more days to restore electricity.

“Our priority will be to restore power to at least the hospitals by Tuesday afternoon,” said Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who had to wait overnight in Rajahmundry so that officials could clear the 395-km stretch between Itchapuram and Rajahmundry.

In Visakhapatnam, hundreds of vehicles, including brand new ones parked in showrooms, were damaged. Thousands of houses have collapsed.

Several multi-storey buildings developed cracks and almost all cellars in complexes, particularly those near the beach road, were inundated.

The government was unable to decide on reviving air traffic as Visakhapatnam airport has no roof and the runway is still under water. “I need to sit with the officials this afternoon. I don’t think that (civilian) air traffic can be restored soon,” said the chief minister.

However, three cargo planes carrying food items landed at the damaged airport on Monday evening.

Railway stations and bus stands have been severely damaged. A few city buses resumed operations in Visakhapatnam.

However, almost all outstation buses bound for Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam have been cancelled.

“We got a packet of milk that is past expiry date. There is no power so we are unable to pump even bore water. I have also not taken bath for three days,” Ponnada Parvathi, a housewife told a TV channel in Visakhapatnam.

Long queues were also seen outside fuel stations that had some fuel to spare.

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