Relief effort begins after deadly cyclone hits India

2014-10-13 15:52
File: AFP

File: AFP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Hyderabad - A major relief operation was underway on Monday after a cyclone pounded India's eastern coast, killing at least six people and leaving a trail of destruction, but officials said mass evacuations helped avert a larger tragedy.

Most of the deaths were caused by falling trees and collapsed buildings in the south-eastern state of Andhra Pradesh, which was worst hit by Cyclone Hudhud. A one-year-old child from the port city of Visakhapatnam was among the dead.

The storm struck just before midday on Sunday, bringing torrential rain and winds of nearly 200km an hour before weakening as it barrelled inland.

Authorities in Andhra Pradesh and the neighbouring state of Orissa evacuated around 350 000 people before the cyclone hit, in an attempt to avert the mass casualties inflicted on the area by previous cyclones.

"The government was able to reduce loss of life due to the precautionary measures taken," Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu told the Press Trust of India (PTI).

Water and power supplies

PK Mohapatra, special relief commissioner of Orissa, told AFP his state was "better prepared this time", after Cyclone Phailin killed at least 18 people in the state last year.

"People followed our cyclone warning, there was hardly any traffic on the roads," Mohapatra said.

In Visakhapatnam, which bore the brunt of the storm's fury, homes had their roofs ripped off and hundreds of fallen trees and power pylons blocked roads.

Water and power supplies were cut off, and the city's airport and railway lines were also badly damaged.

"There is no power, no water or milk, no electricity. We are not getting petrol. We cannot move on the roads. It is difficult to survive a single day here," PTI quoted a resident as saying.

National Disaster Response Force teams began on Monday to try to restore power to affected areas as evacuees left cyclone shelters and returned to their homes, the news agency said.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that he would visit Visakhapatnam on Tuesday.

Deadliest storms

India's east coast and neighbouring Bangladesh are routinely hit by severe storms between April and November that cause deaths and widespread property damage.

Some of the deadliest storms in history have formed in the Bay of Bengal to India's east, including one in 1970 that killed hundreds of thousands in what is now Bangladesh.

Last year India undertook its biggest-ever evacuation before the arrival of Cyclone Phailin, with about a million people moved from their homes along the east coast.

Mohapatra said an additional 230 000 people had been evacuated from areas at risk of flooding in Orissa by late Sunday.

"No one was killed in Orissa by Hudhud," he told AFP, although two children and a fisherman died on Saturday when their boat capsized during an evacuation.

Many evacuees returned on Monday to their homes along the eastern coast, which is mostly populated by fishermen and small farmers living in flimsy huts with thatched roofs or shanties.

Read more on:    india

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.