Hudhud havoc casts shadow on Diwali in coastal villages

Hudhud havoc casts shadow on Diwali in coastal villages - Sakshi Post

For many people in Andhra Pradesh, the festivities this Diwali will be overshadowed by the gloom brought in by cyclone Hudhud, which wreaked a havoc in the coastal villages of the state.

The devastating cyclone, which battered the Andhra coast on Sunday, has damaged around 8,000 houses and ravaged large tracts of agriculture fields and affected hundreds of families.

With the loss of livelihood, Diwali, the festival of lights, which falls on October 23, would mean darkness for most of the people from Visakhapatnam, Vizinagaram and Srikakulam, as worries about the uncertain future writ large on their faces.

A 30-year-old mechanic Mokara Narayana, who had kept Rs 2,000 to buy crackers for his children, will now use the money for reconstruction of his shop which was washed away by the cyclone. "I need at least Rs 1.5 lakh to rebuild my shop and start earning livelihood again," a visibly shaken Narayana.

Deepavali used to be a big festival for us. All my children always look forward to bursting crackers on this day. This year, I do not have anything on my hand. I am literally on the street, he said. Narayana could salvage some pieces of wood with the help of fellow villagers, lying strewn some 100 metres away from his one-time shop, now in ruins now after Hudhud struck with gale. However, his wife Shanti sought to put up a brave front. "I will try to save some extra money and work hard to rebuild my husband's workshop," she said.

Pukkella Lakshmi, another villager, said she did not have food till yesterday. Only from yesterday, we started getting some food and water packets from some NGOs and government organisations, she said, recounting her ordeal from the devastation caused by the cyclone. According to a cracker merchant in Visakhapatnam, the sale during Diwali season used to be around Rs 200 crore in Visakhapatnam, Vizinagaram and Srikakulam. However, this year it will hardly be anything, he said.

Pothina Srinivas, a supervisor working in a hotel near Bheemili beach, said the facility may not see a visitor until the next 20 days as power connection is yet to be given and restoration work of the damaged hotel has to be completed. We have never seen such a big cyclone during past 25 years.

Even the Tsunami in 2004 did not affect tourist flow to this area. But this time people are really scared, Srinivas said. According to him, the hotel accommodated a large number of local villagers on October 12 and 13, when the storm hit the coast. Many of the houses in Bheemili were washed away during the cyclone. People are yet to receive sufficient support from the government in terms of power restoration and clearing the debris, a villager said.

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