2014 News - Tropical Cyclone Hudhud Hits Grace Children's Home

In mid October 2014, the Grace Children’s Home was devastated by the cyclonic storm, Hudhud which hit the east coast of India. The cyclone caused at least 24 deaths in Andhra Pradesh and early estimates put total damage costs at 100 billion rupees (over one billion pounds sterling). Visag, which was practically torn down by the 200kmph wind speed, lost 80% of its green cover. Electricity and phone lines were affected and the city's airport was shut down for repairs because its roof was blown off. The rural areas of Andhra Pradesh suffered major crop damage and 500,000 people in Andhra Pradesh, had to be evacuated and put up in relief camps.

Visakhapatnam is the nearest large city to Grace Children’s Home, and the cyclone caused a lot of damage there too. Thankfully, in spite of the devastation, no one was hurt. However, some of the windows in both the Children’s Home and the staff workers’ flats were blown in and the solar panels, put in not long ago to make the electricity supply more efficient, were ripped from the roof, leaving the buildings open to the elements. Gas bottles for cooking were lost, the water supply was affected and the children’s playground was submerged in water resulting in some of the equipment being either lost or damaged.

Many of the trees around the land were uprooted, and some of them were blown onto the newly finished wall causing damage. Not long after the GCH opened, teak trees were planted around the land. These particular trees take about 30 years to mature, and the intention was that they would eventually be harvested and sold, but some of the teak trees were also uprooted in the cyclone and the crops were flattened by the winds. The water buffalo and their housing escaped major damage, apart from one baby buffalo, which lost its life. The school was closed for a few days.

The Home was built especially to withstand cyclonic weather, and the foundations and concrete structure were designed originally for the worst possible weather situations. The buildings themselves were not damaged, so they certainly passed the test! Timothy Babu, who oversees Grace Children’s Home, said that he could not remember the weather ever being so bad in his lifetime. Although the damage is peripheral, it is still devastating and the restoration work will take some time. Money was sent out straight away to begin the restoration work, and the charity’s supporters responded with amazing generosity, sending funds to pay for the restoration of buildings and cleaning up work. The pictures here show the damage caused. Ray Richardson, the chairman is visiting the land in November, and we will post more pictures when he returns.