Cyclone Hudhud: India ups aid effort as death toll rises

Tree branches are seen entangled in broken electric wires after cyclone Hudhud's land fall in Vishakapatnam in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, India on 13 October 2014 Image copyright EPA
Image caption The storm brought down cables and buildings in Vishakapatnam

Authorities in India's Andhra Pradesh and Orissa states are intensifying efforts to provide aid to some 400,000 people affected by a cyclone now known to have killed 24 people.

Cyclone Hudhud wrecked homes, uprooted trees and power lines, blocked roads and damaged crops in the two states.

PM Narendra Modi is to fly over the affected areas, including the port city of Visakhapatnam, to assess the damage.

Heavy rains have been forecast in six states, prompting fears of flooding.

Rescue workers and soldiers have begun uprooting trees which had blocked roads, restoring power and telecommunication lines and clearing up debris in Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, the city worst hit by Sunday's severe cyclone.

A statement by India's home ministry said the air force was using planes and helicopters to drop food packets in and around the city.

Visakhapatnam's airport has sustained severe damage in the cyclone and has been shut down. A part of the roof was blown off and the runway is under water.

Image copyright EPA

Senior Andhra Pradesh official Parkala Prabhakar told the Associated Press that 15 people had been killed in Visakhapatnam alone. The port has also been badly damaged.

Image copyright Reuters

There were long queues at the few petrol stations which reopened on Monday. But fuel remains in short supply as a large number of petrol stations were damaged in Sunday's storm.

Image copyright EPA

The cyclone downed electrical poles, uprooted trees, overturned vehicles and left debris strewn in the streets.

"Visakhapatnam is a place I like very much. But, it is painful to see the city this way today," Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu told reporters.

"We need at least 100 years to rebuild our beautiful city of Visakhapatnam," a rescue worker told Hindustan Times newspaper. Officials say that more than 6,500 homes were damaged in Andhra Pradesh state.

Image copyright Reuters

India's eastern coast and Bangladesh are routinely hit by cyclonic storms between April and November which cause deaths and widespread damage to property.

A super-cyclone in 1999 killed more than 10,000 people in Orissa.

Last October as many as 500,000 people in India were evacuated when a severe cyclone called Phailin swept through Orissa and Andhra Pradesh states.

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