Death toll hits 22 from deadly India cyclone Hudhud

An uprooted tree is pictured across a road after Cyclone Hudhud made landfall in Visakhapatnam on Oct 13, 2014. Powerful Cyclone Hudhud which struck India's east coast at the weekend has killed at least 22 people, damaged thousands of homes, bla
An uprooted tree is pictured across a road after Cyclone Hudhud made landfall in Visakhapatnam on Oct 13, 2014. Powerful Cyclone Hudhud which struck India's east coast at the weekend has killed at least 22 people, damaged thousands of homes, blacked out villages and left people scrambling for essential supplies, officials said Tuesday. -- PHOTO: AFP

HYDERABAD (AFP) - Powerful Cyclone Hudhud which struck India's east coast at the weekend has killed at least 22 people, damaged thousands of homes, blacked out villages and left people scrambling for essential supplies, officials said Tuesday.

Schools remained shut, electricity lines were down and communication systems were only partially working in the port city of Visakhapatnam in the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh, hardest hit by the cyclonic winds which smashed into the coast at 200 kmh Sunday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took an aerial survey of cyclone-hit areas of the state on Tuesday afternoon.

Residents in parts of Visakhapatnam jostled and shoved each other as relief trucks distributed food packets and water bottles.

Essential goods were in short supply as arterial roads were impassable and bus, train and flights were suspended.

"We feel we're travelling back in time... so many commodities we take for granted are lost now - it will take some time to recover," a young woman told CNN-IBN television network.

Mass evacuations before the onset of the cyclone helped avert a larger human tragedy, officials said.

But some 250,000 people from Andhra Pradesh and thousands in neighbouring Orissa were affected by the storm, many of them poor fishermen and farmers.

Over 40 National Disaster Response Force teams were engaged in rescue efforts, along with the navy and dozens of divers.

Large swathes of crops were damaged and livestock was killed by raging winds accompanied by torrential rains.

P.K. Mohapatra, Orissa's special relief commissioner, told AFP most of those who sought refuge in relief centres had returned home apart from a few thousand whose mud houses were destroyed.

A family of three including a child, died early Tuesday in Madhya Pradesh state as their house collapsed under heavy rain brought by Hudhud as it moved towards central India.

India's east coast and neighbouring Bangladesh are often lashed by severe storms between April and November that cause deaths and massive property damage.

Cyclone Phailin killed at least 18 people in Orissa last year and more than 8,000 people were killed in the state in a cyclone in 1999.