Hyderabad/Bhubaneswar: Over two lakh people living in and around the vulnerable coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha have been evacuated with ' set to hit the two states on Sunday with winds gusting up to 195 kmph.
The cyclone is expected to make a landfall near Visakhapatnam by tomorrow afternoon, a senior official said, adding, about 1.11 lakh people in five coastal districts have been shifted to safer places.
The Andhra government has made arrangements to evacuate 5,14,725 people in all, officials said, while the Army and the Navy have kept their personnel on stand-by for rescue and relief operations.
In Odisha, the state government today began evacuating people from vulnerable areas to minimise casualties even as two flights and 39 trains on the route were cancelled.
"The collectors of eight districts - Koraput, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur, Rayagada, Gajapati, Ganjam, Kalahandi and Kandhamal have been on the job to shift people from vulnerable areas to safe places," Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Mohapatra said.
The cyclone will attain its top speed of 195 kmph early tomorrow morning, the IMD said.
The cyclone, which lay centred 250 km southwest of Visakhapatnam and 340 km south-southeast of Gopalpur at 2.30 PM, will attain speed of 170-180 kmph around 5.30 AM tomorrow with winds gusting up to 195 kmph, a bulletin issued by the Indian Meteorological Department said in Delhi..
The National Crisis Management Committee took stock of the preparedness of various state and central government agencies to deal with the cyclone.
The meeting was chaired by Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth and it took stock of the relief and rescue measures put in place in both the states after discussing the subject with the Chief Secretaries of the Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.
"All the central agencies are fully geared up to provide necessary assistance to these states in case of any eventualities arising out of the landfall of the cyclone expected tomorrow," a Union Home Ministry statement said.
Under the influence of the cyclonic system, heavy to very heavy rainfall would take place over west and east Godavari, Visakhapatnam, Vijayanagaram and Srikakulam districts of north Andhra Pradesh and Ganjam, Gajapati, Koraput, Rayagada, Nabarangpur, Malkangiri, Kalahandi, Phulbani districts of south Odisha over next two days.
Centre said 39 NDRF teams comprising over 1,680 rescuers along with 199 inflatable rubber boats and other life saving equipments have been deployed in various parts of these two states.
"The Indian Air Force helicopters are also on standby to meet any emergent situation," it said.
According to the reports received by the state Disaster Management Commissioner A R Sukumar, 35,000 persons have been evacuated in Srikakulam district, 6,000 in Vizianagaram, 15,000 in Visakhapatnam, 50,000 in East Godavari and 5,000 in the West Godavari district.
Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has been reviewing the situation with top officials and requested ISRO to provide satellite images of Hudhud's course.
In all, 436 villages across 64 mandals in the five districts have been identified as exposed to the threat of cyclone. The government has identified 370 relief camps for the evacuated people in these districts.
Rains have been reported from some areas, mostly in the southern region but there was no report of any major damage so far, sources in the SRC said.
In Delhi, New Delhi, a Indian Meteorological Department bulletin said heavy to very heavy rainfall is expected in the next 48 hours in parts of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha as 'Hudhud', which has developed into a very severe cyclone, nears Visakhapatnam and Gopalpur.
It said the cyclone moved west-northwestwards during past six hours and lay centred about 260 km southeast of Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and 350 km south-southeast of Gopalpur in Odisha.
"The system would move northwestwards and cross north Andhra Pradesh coast around Visakhapatnam by the forenoon of October 12," it said.
Malkangiri, which is likely to be among the worst hit areas, is already experiencing heavy rainfall and strong winds. One 'kuchha' house at Gudguta village was damaged as a tree fell on it but there was no report of any casualty from anywhere in the district.
About 3.5 lakh people, including those living in the coast of Ganjam are being evacuated and the district authorities have been asked to start a free kitchen. The district authorities have also been asked to stock adequate quantities of dryfood.