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Thursday, October 23, 2014

AP Govt initiates immediate action - Hudhud impact - Insurers hit too...

Very Severe Cyclonic Storm Hudhud threw life out of gear and devastated parts of land. Hudhud originated from a low pressure system that formed under the influence of an upper-air cyclonic circulation in the Andaman Sea on October 6. Hudhud intensified  and made a  landfall near Visakhapatnam on October 12.  At its peak  Hudhud fury was estimated to be around  175 km/h (109 mph). Hudhud caused extensive damage to the city of Visakhapatnam and the neighboring districts of Vizianagaram and Srikakulam.  According to some estimates – losses could be 60000 crore (US$9.7 billion).  Close to 100 deaths have been reported – Nepal experienced an avalanche during the cyclone.   

One may not support his political party – one cannot deny his dynamism. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Wednesday sought people’s cooperation to reconstruct Visakhapatnam city with the help of the Centre so that it withstands all types of cyclones. Immediately after the loss, he stationed himself in Vizag alongwith District Collector organised meeting directing all agencies concerned to attend.  He called the agencies, including telephone service providers,  to ensure help to people who are in distress.

Addressing a public meeting at Ramakrishna Beach in VisakhapatnamonWednesday, the Chief Minister said that he had prepared plans to reconstruct Visakhapatnam. The Central government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have assured all help to reconstruct Visakhapatnam city badly damaged by Cyclone Hudhud, he said. Mr Naidu stated that after the cyclone hit Visakhapatnam he contacted Chief Ministers of Odisha, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal and sought their help. “We procured 2,500 metric tonne of potatoes from West Bengal and 250 lorries to supply it to the affected people, while 30,000 metric tonne of rice was dumped in Visakhapatnam to supply victims through fair price shops. The government gave a package to all victims through ration shops,” he added.

Cyclone or any other natural calamity is bad news for the Insurers.  Economic Times reports that USA-based catastrophe modelling firm AIR Worldwide has estimated that insurance companies may take a hit of around Rs 2,400 crore due to Cyclone Hudhud.  AIR Worldwide's insured loss estimates assume that an insurance penetration of three per cent for residential lines, 20 per cent for commercial, and 30 per cent for industrial segments. According to the report, 11,58,132 families were severely affected and 18,08,783 partially hit by the cyclone. It said 90,291 houses, 27,041 electric towers/poles, 1,902 canal or tanks (breaches) have suffered damage. Also, 1,110 boats were in the category of damaged or missing.

Mr Naidu conducted a review meeting with 22 officials of various Central government departments to take stock of industrial sector losses in Visakhapatnam.  Mr Naidu also asked insurance companies to settle damage claims within 45 days. It is stated the Collector and high officials had meeting with representatives of PSU and Private Insurers impressing upon them the need for expeditious settlement of claims, waiving out many documentary requirements.   He further added that the AP Govt would soon constitute a committee of experts to come out with a Blue Book to tackle cyclones and other disasters.  The  Blue Book would be a kind of a manual containing the whole gamut of measures to be taken on disaster management, including prevention, preparedness, relief, restoration and rehabilitation. He said national and State-level experts would be on the committee. International experts too would be consulted. It would also go into issues such as the equipment and manpower needed.

Mr. Naidu, who reviewed the relief and restoration work in Visakhapatnam and other affected areas, organised a torch rally on Visakhapatnam’s iconic Beach Road to instil confidence in the people.  He had organised 400 teams which worked on war-footing.  He said that by October 22, the city would be cleared and 400 teams were working on a war-footing. The  crops in 1.75 lakh hectares and horticultural plantations in an extent of 72,000 hectares were damaged. He said that satellite imagery on the damages would be integrated with the data collected by officials to ensure that injustice was not done to any eligible beneficiary while paying compensation.

The work of Visakhapatnam district Collector N Yuvraj has also been appreciated by locals and media.   He told reporters that 108 teams will have to conduct the process of enumeration in 2.75 lakh survey numbers in affected areas, which is likely to end by October 28.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

23rd Oct 2o14

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