The Andhra Pradesh government is gearing up to brace for the severe cyclonic storm ‘Hudhud’ which lay centred at about 500 km of Visakhapatnam and 550 km of Gopalpur in Odisha, and expected to cross the coast near Visakhapatnam by forenoon of October 12.
Given the IMD warning that the system will intensify further into a very severe cyclonic storm during next 12 hours and with wind speeds reaching up to 150 km, the Centre started monitoring the situation in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha closely.
At a video conference with the Chief Secretaries of both the States and officers of the Army, the Navy and the Air force on Friday afternoon, the Union Cabinet Secretary enquired about the preparedness of the States and their requirements for relief operations.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Secretary I. Y. R. Krishna Rao also uplinked the Collectors of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam and East Godavari.
While 38 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams were being deputed to the two States, 20 teams reached Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, another three stand-by teams will reach Guntur by Saturday morning. With the experience of the Phailin cyclonic storm last year, the four district Collectors said all precautionary steps were being taken.
The Air Force officials said that standby arrangements were made and eight helicopters — four medium and four small — would be deployed for evacuation and relief operations as severe flooding would follow after the landfall. The requested the Chief Secretary to give instructions to the district authorities to keep adequate stocks of aviation fuel, about 20,000 litres in the airfields at Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Rajahmundry and Begumpet.
They also requested one contact person be posted at these airports for coordination and swift transport of properly reinforced small pockets of food, water and medicines as part of relief to people in the affected areas.
On a suggestion from the Srikakulam Collector, the Chief Secretary said they would establish contact with the Odisha Irrigation Secretary for prior information about release of flood water to the Nagavali and Vamsadhara rivers so that people could be evacuated.
Later, Chief Secretary I. Y. R. Krishna Rao told media persons that with the Union Cabinet Secretary monitoring the situation on a daily basis since Thursday, coordination with the Service officers became easier. The Army would also move in shortly, he added. As things stand now, the cyclone is likely to cross the coast between Visakhapantam and Anakapalle.
Depending on the situation, the Collectors were asked to use their discretion to reschedule Janmabhoomi in the districts.