New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday promised Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu all possible assistance as Cyclone Hudhud made landfall leaving five persons dead in the state and neighbouring Odisha.
The Prime Minister, who had yesterday held an emergency high-level meeting to review preparedness for the cyclone , today spoke to Naidu and discussed relief and rescue measures.
He had yesterday asked officials to ensure that rescue and relief operations proceed smoothly and people are informed about the cyclone on a real-time basis.
Modi had also asked Home Minister Rajnath Singh to be in touch with the Chief Ministers of the states likely to be affected by it.
The meeting was attended by the Cabinet Secretary, the Principal Secretary to the PM, the Home Secretary, the Defence Secretary and other senior officials from the Indian Meteorological Department and and the PMO.
Cabinet Secretary Ajit Kumar Seth said the Prime Minister was concerned not only about AP and Odisha but also wanted other states, which could face heavy rains, to be alerted.
"We have done that," Seth said, adding that while the Prime Minister reviewed the situation last night, he himself has been reviewing the situation closely and holding meetings with Chief Secretaries of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha twice daily.
Seth advised residents of cyclone-hit Vizag to exercise caution till the second phase of the high wind is over even as he lauded the efforts of the central agencies and state government in meeting the challenge.
Severe cyclonic storm Hudhud hit the port city of Vishakapatnam today bringing with it torrential rains in three coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh and leaving five persons dead in the state and neighbouring Odisha besides snapping power and communication lines.
Normal life was thrown completely out of gear as winds with a speed of 170 to 180 kmph battered Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts.
Naidu said huge damage to property was reported and next
3-4 hours will be crucial as the reverse windfall has started.
"We have yet to assess how it is crossing and also reverse windfall have started just now. Wind is moving at speed of 190 kmph with heavy rains. We have given instructions to people to stay indoors and because of it we could save a lot of lives. But there is huge damage...Buildings, bridges, trees and also crops.
"Communication has totally collapsed...Power and telecommunication. We are working on rescue. Our administration, so far as possible, wherever they can reach they are reaching," Naidu told reporters in Hyderabad.
The CM said that due to the impact of the heavy winds and rain, even the rescue and relief teams were unable to venture out, but until now the administration has evacuated more than 1.5 lakh people.
"There will be heavy rain for another 3-4 hours. Now we have to monitor closely. Even people are unable to go out, our relief and rescue teams also. Some people were held up on an island, NDRF team has gone and rescued them.
"Few hours are crucial. We warned them. One is a wall collapse and another one is tree-felling. Lakhs of people have been evacuated...Around 1.5 to 2 lakh. We are continously doing that."