Bhubaneshwar/Hyderabad: Authorities in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh on Friday ordered evacuation of people from coastal areas and deployed rescued teams at vulnerable points as cyclone Hudhud intensified into a "very severe" cyclonic storm due to hit the two states on October 12.
Keeping in mind the safety of passengers, East Coast Railway has decided to cancel the services of 38 trains on Sunday.
Weathermen predicted very heavy to very very heavy rainfall in coastal districts of the Andhra Pradesh and Odisha as Hudhud, building over the Bay of Bengal, slams into the two states packing winds speed of up to 155 kmph.
Bracing for the exigency, the Centre has pressed into service the NDRF and the navy to reduce possible casualties. Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Odisha on the steps being taken to deal with the situation and also assured all possible help.
"At least 25 teams, 15 of NDRF and 10 ODRF, have been deployed at vulnerable areas keeping an eye on the cyclone and heavy rainfall," Odisha's Special Relief Commissioner P K Mohapatra told reporters in Bhubaneshwar.
Malkangiri is this time in focus, Mohapatra said, adding the severe cyclonic storm is likely to pass over the district.
Odisha Chief Minister Patnaik sought satellite phones following which Rajnath Singh asked Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami to ensure quick supplies of the phones which could be used in case high-speed winds disturbed the telecommunication system.
A Hyderabad report said 11 teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed in coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh.
While NDRF teams have been deployed in the two states, the Indian Navy has geared up to render humanitarian assistance.
IMD chief Laxman Singh Rathore said "the very severe Cyclonic Storm HudHud over westcentral and adjoining eastcentral Bay moved west-northwestwards and lay centered over westcentral Bay about 470 km east-southeast of Visakhapatnam and 520 km south-southeast of Gopalpur (in Odisha). It will cross the coast at the speed of 155 kmph near Visakhapatnam.
"The coastal areas will see winds blowing 50-60 kmph from tomorrow and it will further itensify further as the cyclone approaches," Rathore said.
He said "heavy" to "very heavy" rainfall would occur in the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh--east and west Godavari, Vijaynagaram and Srikakulam districts- and South Odisha districts- Ganjam, Hajapati, Koraput, Rayagada, Nabarangour, Malkangiri, Kalahandi and Phulbani.
"Waves in the ocean may rise upto 14 meters while tide on the coast may rise upto 2 meters. In some places, the sea water may enter 200 meters inside the land," Mritunjay Mohapatra, scientist, incharge of Cyclonic Warning said.
Unlike last year when cyclone Phailin had struck the east coast with Odisha as the worst hit, this time it will be Andhra Pradesh, especially, the coast near Visakhapatnam. However, the exact location could be determined only by tomorrow as the cyclone proceeds towards the coast.
"Fortunately, the topography of the area, where the landfall will take place, is hilly and this will help reduce the intensity of Hudhud. It will turn into a severe cyclonic storm, 12 hours after it makes landing," Rathore said.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu reviewed the situation and asked the administration to be fully geared up to meet any eventuality.
In Andhra Pradesh, as many as 26 revenue mandals are likely to be affected by the cyclone.
About 250 personnel of the Army have also been kept ready in Vizag to aid the administration in rescue and relief operations.
According to Deputy Chief Minister K E Krishna Murthy all Odisha coastal districts have been provided with satellite phones for emergency and constant vigil was being maintained on rivers like Bansadhara, Rusikulya and Nagabali as heavy rain is expected there.
"We have asked the collectors that no one should remain inside 'kutcha houses' in Malkangiri district. All the people living in 'kutcha' houses need to be evacuated to safe place," Mohapatra said, adding that this was being done keeping the state's commitment of "zero casualty" as target.
The SRC also asked the district authorities to start free kitchen where the government undertakes evacuation drive. The districts were also told to stock adequate quantity of dry food, he said.
The Eastern Naval Command of the Indian Navy is in constant touch with the state governments to augment the safety and relief operations and has pressed in four naval ships for the purpose.
"These ships embarked with additional divers, doctors, inflatable rubber boats, integral helicopters and relief material including food, tentage, clothes, medicines, blankets etc, in quantities sufficient to sustain over 5000 personnel.
"Six aircraft are standing by at the Naval Air Station INS Dega to undertake rescue, casualty evacuation and air drop of relief material to the stranded. Additionally, 30 divers' teams and four platoons with additional relief material are ready to be pressed into action at a short notice," said a statement issued by the Ministry of Defence.
38 trains cancelled on October 12
East Coast Railway has canceled services of 38 trains on October 12 when cyclone 'Hudhud' is expected to hit Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.
"We do not want even a single casualty as our passengers safety is foremost in our agenda.
"Hence, we have decided to cancel 38 the trains on the Bhubaneswar-Visakhapatnam route from 6 AM on October 12 and during that time the entire section would be closed to all mail express and passenger trains," ECoR CPRO J P Mishra said.
According to the Met department, Cyclone Hudhud, which is transform into a "very severe cyclonic storm", is expected to hit Andhra Pradesh-Odisha coast on October 12.
The cancelled passenger trains include Bhubaneswar-Bangalore Prashanti Express, Bhubaneswar-Visakhpatnam Intercity, Bhubaneswar-Yesvantpur, Bhubaneswar-Secunderabad Visakha Express, Puri-Okha Express, Bhubaneswar-Tirupaty Express, Puri-Tirupaty Express, Bhubaneswar-Mumbai Konark Express, Puri-Chennai Express etc.
Some of the trains originating from Howrah and bound for the southern states would be diverted via Raipur and Nagpur section.
Mishra said they have planned for early restoration of train services and railway track, should they be affected. Positioning of special teams for early restoration of tracks, signaling system and electrification has also been ensured.
With PTI Inputs