Visakhapatnam/Hyderabad: Death toll in the devastating Hudhud cyclone that battered the Andhra coast mounted to 25 today even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an interim assistance of Rs 1000 crore for taking up immediate relief works after visiting the city. Four more deaths were reported today, according to a statement from the disaster management department.
While 15 persons were killed in the worst-hit Visakhapatnam district, eight deaths are reported from Vizianagaram and and two from Srikakulam, respectively.
Over 1.35 lakh people have taken shelter in the relief camps set up by the state government and more than six lakh people are provided with food at the camps, according to the statement.
The state government today announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs five lakh each to the next of kin of those killed in the calamity and a financial assistance of Rs one lakh each to those who lost a limb or eyes.
Earlier in the day, the prime minister visited Visakhapatnam and held a review meeting with state chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu and other top officials.
“Full survey is yet to be conducted. For now, to deal with the difficulty of such a magnitude, I announce, on behalf of the Government of India, an interim assistance of Rs 1,000 crore,” Modi told reporters in Visakhapatnam.
He also announced an ex-gratia of Rs two lakh each to the next of kin of those killed in the cyclone and Rs 50,000 to the injured.
“The Centre will fully stand by Andhra government in this hour of difficulty,” Modi said.
The prime minister said the Centre and Andhra Pradesh government worked in perfect coordination “minute-to-minute” over the past five days to tackle the challenge posed by the cyclone which has left a trail of devastation in the coastal areas.
“It is important to note that a crisis of any magnitude can be overcome if the state and Centre work shoulder-to-shoulder,” he said.
Modi said the Meteorological Department had correctly forecast from October 6 itself the different aspects of the cyclone like its velocity, direction and time, leveraging the power of technology.
“The use of technology has helped in overcoming this crisis,” he said.
Naidu, who is camping in Visakhapatnam to oversee relief operations, announced that a package of essential food items and vegetables a nominal price would be provided to the affected people.
However, long queues were witnessed at petrol pumps and shops selling essential food items like milk. Many residents alleged that the traders were trying to exploit the situation by selling items at exorbitant prices.
Obviously unhappy over pace of restoration of communication lines, Naidu sternly told different agencies that they have to get their act right to see that network were operational again at the earliest.
Meanwhile, the South Central Railways has cleared the rail route to Visakhapatnam in Vijayawada for traffic after repairing damages to the track.
Responding to the plight of the cyclone-hit victims, several bigwigs of Telugu film industry, including Jana Sena Party founder Pawan Kalyan, announced contribution to the CM Relief Fund.