Prime Minister Narendra Modi has offered ₹1,000 crore as interim relief to the Andhra Pradesh government in the aftermath of Cyclone Hudhud, during his visit to Visakhapatnam on Tuesday, two days after the very severe cyclonic storm lashed the port city on Sunday.
As massive devastation unleashed by Cyclone Hudhud on Sunday unfolded the day after, the death toll rose to 22, with 15 deaths reported in the worst-hit city of Visakhapatnam, six in Vizianagaram district and another in Srikakulam.
Modi inspected the Visakhapatnam airport facility on his arrival as it had suffered extensive damages in the storm, according to IANS.
The PM praised the use of technology by the India Meteorological Department for providing accurate information and lauded the state government for its coordination in stepping up relief and rescue operations.
"I also want to laud the people of Visakhapatnam who followed the instructions during the storm," Modi said during an address to the media.
"I was happy a few days ago as I wanted to make Vizag a 'smart city', but it has suffered so much because of the cyclone. But I assure you that it will return to normal," he said.
"The central government will stand by Andhra Pradesh government and I promise an interim relief of ₹1,000 crore," Modi said. "Several government institutions such as the Coast Guard and the Indian Navy also suffered losses, while farmers lost their crops," he said.
Modi will conduct an aerial survey along with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu to assess the situation in the cyclone-hit regions, and will review the situation at a meeting to be held at the office of district collector.
Visakhapatnam suffered maximum damage, and the devastation was evident from images of uprooted trees, flooded streets, fallen poles and statues and even the destruction at Vizag airport.
Adding to this, the blackouts and a crunch in essential supplies of food and water have brought life to a grinding halt. Prices of vegetables and milk have been soaring since the storm struck the region.