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Cyclone-hit Visakhapatnam limps back to normalcy

Normalcy is slowly returning to this port city Wednesday, three days after it was battered by cyclonic storm as authorities intensified relief operations with focus on provision of essential commodities.

Water is being supplied to citizens through tankers from neighbouring East and West Goadavri districts while milk and vegetables were procured in huge quantities. Fire engines were also pressed into service to supply water to apartments.

It was a huge relief for citizens, reeling under severe shortage of essential commodities for last two days. While communication services have been partially restored, authorities are still battling to restore electricity supply.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, who continues to camp here to monitor relief operations, told reporters Wednesday morning that electricity supply to some areas was restored through alternate arrangements. He said with 40,000 electricity poles damaged, restoring the supply is a gigantic task.

Naidu said nine lakh families in the affected districts will be provided free ration through public distribution system. Each family will get 25 kg rice, five kg kerosene, three kg sugar, one kg palm oil, three kg potatoes and one kg onion.

With retailers exploiting the situation by jacking up the prices of essentials, the authorities dumped vegetables in huge quantities to overcome artificial scarcity. Naidu said vegetables were being supplied for Rs.3 to Rs.5 a kg. Five lakh liters of milk was also brought to the city.

Naidu said six lakh food packets brought by helicopters were distributed in the city Tuesday while relief camps continued. About six lakh people have taken shelter in these camps in the districts of Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam, Vijayanagaram and East Godavari.

Authorities also ensured supply of petrol and diesel in sufficient quantities at fuel stations to overcome the shortage.

Severe cyclonic storm Hudhud, which hit the coast near this steel city, claimed 25 lives in three districts. Officials of disaster management department said 43 people were injured. About 8,000 houses were damaged.

According to them, 3,368 animals perished in the disaster. Crops over 1.82 lakh hectares were damaged.

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