Cyclone Hudhud: Evacuation pays off, casualties minimal

Armed forces and the National Disaster Response Force have dispatched teams for rescue and relief operations

Updated - November 27, 2021 06:54 pm IST

Published - October 13, 2014 04:14 am IST - Kochi/New Delhi

A motorist braving heavy gales due ot cyclone hudhud in Visakhapatnam on Sunday. Photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam

A motorist braving heavy gales due ot cyclone hudhud in Visakhapatnam on Sunday. Photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam

The armed forces and the National Disaster Response Force have dispatched teams for rescue and relief operations in the cyclone-hit areas in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.

Codenamed Operation Lehar, the rescue efforts of the armed forces will be led by the Navy. Sources in the Navy said even before the cyclone hit, warships INS Ranjit, INS Shivalik and INS Airawat and fleet tanker INS Shakti were readied with relief material for 5,000 personnel, to rescue people marooned at sea or in the several islands along the coast. Four other ships could also sail at short notice for relief operations, and two Dornier maritime recce aircraft and six helicopters were also ready for deployment, the sources said.

A P8-I long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft is on standby for carrying out damage assessment once the cyclone passes and wind speeds reduce, a naval spokesperson said.

A total of 30 diving teams with Gemini craft loaded with relief material and 20 rescue teams fanned out to rescue people in flooded areas of Srikakulam, Anakapalle and areas surrounding Vishakhapatnam.

The Andhra sub area of the Army dispatched four teams, each equipped with relief material including some 300 lifejackets, to Vishakhapatnam and Tikli and Echerla areas in Srikakulam. A Disaster Management Cell has been set up at Army Air Defence College at Gopalpur at sea and 16 teams have been deployed to clear obstructions and open roads for transport of relief material and quick evacuation of casualties. The Army has also kept 25 teams and two engineer task forces on standby at Ranchi, Allahabad and Secunderabad.

The Air Force, on its part, kept an Il-76, a C-17 Globemaster and five An-32 transport aircraft ready at Chandigarh, Delhi, Jorhat and Agra for the relief work. Three Chetaks were on standby at Hakimpet, a Mi-8 helicopter was ready at Yelahanka and 10 Mi-17 medium-lift choppers remained on alert at Nagpur, Hyderabad, Kalaikunda, Suratgarh, Bagdogra and Barrackpore.

The Coast Guard scrambled up from Chennai, Vizag, Paradip, Haldia and Kolkata 17 ships, two air cushion vessels and 13 aircraft in Eastern and North-Eastern regions to augment the rescue efforts. In addition, it kept three rescue teams on standby at Vishakhapatnam, Kakinada and Gopalpur.

The contour and magnitude of the relief operations would be based on the damage assessment done by the State authorities in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, said a defence communiqué.

In Delhi, the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) held a meeting on Sunday evening to review the ground situation after the landfall of cyclone Hudhud.

Chaired by Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth, the meeting discussed relief and rehabilitation operations. Over three lakh people have reportedly been affected by the storm and rains.

NDRF teams have evacuated nearly 13,000 people in both States.

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