District authorities on Wednesday reported nine more death cases in the wake of the devastation caused by cyclone Hudhud even as the worst-hit Visakhapatnam city was limping back to normalcy with adequate supplies of essential commodities.
The State Disaster Management Authority this evening put the death toll due to Sunday's cyclone at 35 but with a rider that they are "yet to confirm" whether these deaths are indeed caused due to the fury unleashed by Hudhud that struck the Andhra coast on Sunday while making a landfall at Vizag.
Nearly 8,000 houses and more than 8,300 electric poles and transformers were damaged in Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts in the nature's fury.
Though the exact financial loss is yet to be ascertained, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said that the initial estimates indicate that it can go up to Rs 70,000 crore. "It is very difficult to assess the damage and loss caused by the cyclone. We are still getting reports whether it (total losses in all cyclone-hit districts) is Rs 60,000 crore or Rs 70,000 crore. We cannot come to a figure now. Our immediate priority is to conduct rescue and relief operations in the cyclone-hit areas," Naidu said.
The central teams (for assessment of losses) are expected to arrive in Andhra Pradesh in a day or two, he said. Meanwhile, normalcy is returning to the port city with restoration of essential supplies and public transportation services, three days after it was battered by Hudhud.
The residents of Visakhapatnam faced a lot of hardships as electricity and essential items like milk were not available and communication network having virtually collapsed due to the devastation caused by the cyclone.
The chief minister, camping in the city to oversee relief operations, has directed officials to supply a package of food items like rice, dal, edible oil and some vegetables to the cyclone-hit people free of cost.
The state-run Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation has already resumed bus services in the cyclone-hit districts of Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts.
As Vizag is picking up pieces from the trail of devastation left behind by the cyclone, it has come to light that tens of thousands of people dependent on fishing and related activities in the port city are staring at uncertainty as a large number of their boats have either been damaged or sunken.
"As many as 50,000 people who are dependent on fishing and related activities are now looking at uncertainty as about 400 boats have been damaged in the cyclone fury and 72 sunk without a trace," Andhra Pradesh Mechanised Fishing Boat Operators Association president P C Appa Rao, told PTI.
Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited, the corporate entity of Vizag Steel Ltd, said it was incurring losses of Rs 40 crore to Rs 50 crore daily following shutting down of operations of the plant, which is now expected to return to production level only after 10-15 days.
Operations at Visakhapatnam airport, hit following the cyclone, is expected to be partially restored on October 18, a civil aviation ministry official said.