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Andhra braces to face 'Hudhud'; NDRF, Army mobilised

Hyderabad: Eleven teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed in the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh as the severe cyclone 'Hudhud' is expected to cross the Bay of Bengal coast tomorrow.

Another four teams are expected to reach the state by evening even as the government machinery in the coastal districts remained on high alert.

About 250 personnel of the Army have also been kept ready in Vizag to aid the administration in rescue and relief operations.

Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu reviewed the situation with Chief Secretary I Y R Krishna Rao and asked the administration to be fully geared up to meet any eventuality. The exact landfall of the cyclone will become clear only tomorrow, the state government said in an official communication here today.

Heavy to very heavy rain is expected in Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam and East Godavari districts from tomorrow evening with wind speed ranging between 50 and 60 kmph.

Disaster Management OSD Arvind Kumar is camping in Vizag overseeing the preparedness of the administration in coastal districts.

Ministers Ganta Srinivasa Rao and K Atchan Naidu are also camping in Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam districts respectively and reviewing the situation.

In East Godavari, Deputy Chief Minister N Chinarajappa held a review with Collector Neetu Kumari Prasad.

As many as 26 revenue mandals are likely to be affected by the cyclone. "We have taken steps to evacuate people from
vulnerable areas to safety wherever required," the Deputy CM said.

According to Deputy Chief Minister K E Krishna Murthy all collectors of coastal districts have been instructed to be
vigilant and monitor the progress of "Hudhud" cyclone and take all precautionary measures.

The cyclone is presently active and lay centred about 570 kms from Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam areas. It is likely to cross the land border between Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam during early hours of October 12 or a little later, Murthy
said.

In view of the impending severe cyclonic storm, the Eastern Naval Command of the Indian Navy is all set to render all the necessary assistance.

"Four Indian Naval ships are standing by to proceed to the most affected areas to undertake humanitarian aid & disaster relief, evacuation, logistic support, including providing medical aid," an official release said.

These ships are equipped 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, it added.

The Eastern Naval Command is monitoring the situation closely and is in constant communication with the state administration to augment the rescue and relief operations.

Six aircraft are standing by at the Naval Air Station INS Dega to undertake reconnaissance, rescue, casualty evacuation and air drop of relief material to the stranded.

Additionally, 30 diving teams and four platoons with additional relief material are ready to be pressed into action at short notice, it stated.

Meanwhile, the South Central Railway has informed here today that there is a likelihood of change in the pattern oftrain services during the next three days in the Coastal Andhra region in view of 'Hudhud'.

"The train services scheduled to be run on/via Secunderabad, Kazipet, Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam; and Tirupati, Gudur, Vijayawada, Samalkot/Kakinada, Visakhapatnam Sections of South Central Railway, are likely to be affected during the
period from October 11 to 13," the SCR said in a travel advisory.

"The local passenger/express trains running within this area are likely to be fully/partially cancelled/regulated as per the demands of the situation," it added.

The long distance express trains running between the Southern part of the country and Eastern parts through Vijayawada¿ Visakhapatnam¿ Bhubaneswar route are likely to be regulated/diverted to suitable alternate routes like via enigunta/Guntakal; and via Vijayawada/Kazipet/ Balharshah etc as per the need, it said.

"Passengers are requested to please plan their rail journeys keeping in view the above factors and may check from the Railway authorities about the actual position of the running of the trains before undertaking their journey. Apart from publicising through media, the SCR has set up helplines at several major stations in the sections that are likely to be affected by 'Hudhud' to disseminate information on train services," the advisory added.

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