PM Narendra Modi to visit cyclone-hit Visakhapatnam today to take stock of situation

Written by PTI | Visakhapatnam/Hyderabad | Updated: Oct 14 2014, 14:18pm hrs
Hudhud cyclonePeople stand on boats damaged by strong winds caused by Cyclone Hudhud in the southern Indian city of Visakhapatnam. (Reuters)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi would visit Visakhapatnam today to review the situation in the aftermath of cyclone Hudhud that has claimed 21 lives and left a trail of destruction in coastal Andhra Pradesh.

The Prime Minister would visit Visakhapatnam and undertake an aerial survey of the city in the afternoon, according to Parakala Prabhakar, Advisor (Communications) to the Andhra Pradesh government.

Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who is already camping in the port city to oversee the relief operations, is expected to brief the Prime Minister on the massive damage caused by the cyclone.

Naidu has urged the Centre to treat the devastation caused by the severe cyclonic storm as a "national calamity" and requested for an assistance of Rs 2,000.

The disaster management department of Andhra Pradesh said in a statement this morning that the death toll in the tragedy stood at 21. Prabhakar said yesterday that most of the deaths occurred due to falling of trees on the victims.

The department said over 1.35 lakh people are taking shelter in the relief camps and 5,62,000 are being provided with food.

The residents of Visakhapatnam, a picturesque location in the east coast of the country and a major industrial, educational and tourism hub, continued to reel under the crisis of not having electricity and communication network.

Many residents complained of power woes and acute shortage of essential items like milk and food and petrol. Taking advantage of the situation, some traders were selling the essential items at exorbitant prices, they alleged.

Naidu, who took a tour of some of the worst-hit areas yesterday, 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 yesterday 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.