India evacuations 'saved lives'

Mass evacuations have spared India the widespread deaths many had feared from a powerful cyclone that roared ashore over the weekend, officials said. Nearly one million people were evacuated from the coast ahead of Cyclone Phailin making landfall.

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Latest developments on Cyclone Phailin in India

A comprehensive guide to local conditions in and around Cyclone Phailin's path, including information on electric and transportation outages has been compiled by Indian news agency NDTV.

Here is a round-up of the incident:

  • A massive relief operation has been mounted by multiple state and central agencies. Phailin is expected to affect around 1.2 crore (12 million) people in India.
  • The storm made landfall near Gopalpur and has caused very heavy rain along the coast and in most parts of Odisha.
  • The Cyclone hit land with wind speed of around 200 kilometres per hour, marginally less than expected. Tidal waves rose to 3.5 metres.
  • Power supply has been cut from Ichchapuram to Palasa in Andhra Prdaesh and in seven coastal districts in Odisha.
  • At least five deaths have been reported across the state due to incidents of wall collapse, all before the cyclone made landfall.
  • Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has directed that all possible assistance be extended to the states which are on alert for the cyclone.

Source: NDTV

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Electricity turned off 'as precaution' in India cyclone

by Lonzo Cook - CNN Correspondent

Here in Bhubaneshwar, there are gale force winds and very strong rains. There is no electricity, and the town is in darkness and in fact electricity has been cut as a precautionary measure to avoid death from electrocution or fire.

A family carries their belongings as they move to a safer place in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Credit: Reuters

Several hours earlier we drove through the epicentre of the strike zone. And most of the local residents had already moved to higher ground. We spoke to one man who experienced the 1999 disastrous cyclone, which left more than 10,000 people dead.

He told me he was not as scared this time round because there had been much better advanced warning.

Throughout the afternoon, the skies darkened perceptively. And our ears could feel the negative air pressure in advance of the cyclone. The lights are out, it is extremely windy, but we need to wait until Sunday morning before we see the extent of the devastation.

Cyclone batters India's east coast as thousands flee

A massive cyclone packing heavy rains and destructive winds slammed into India's eastern coastline on Saturday evening, as hundreds of thousands of residents moved inland to shelters in hopes of riding out the dangerous storm.

Roads were all but empty as high waves lashed the coastline of Orissa state, which will bear the brunt of Cyclone Phailin.

More than half a million evacuated as cyclone hits India

More than half a million people in India have been evacuated from their homes as the country prepares for the full force of Cyclone Phailin.

The cyclone has triggered the country's biggest evacuation for 23 years, local news station NDTV reported, and at least five people are believed to have died.

The US Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Centre in Hawaii showed maximum sustained winds of about 222kph (138mph), with gusts up to 268kph (167mph).

ITV News reporter Jacob Greaves reports:

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'At least five dead' as Cyclone Phailin makes landfall

At least five people have died and around half a million people have been evacuated as Cyclone Phailin hit India's east coast.

A man walks as waves from the Bay of Bengal approach the shore.
A man walks as waves from the Bay of Bengal approach the shore. Credit: Reuters/Adnan Abidi

The cyclone was expected to remain a "very severe cyclonic storm" with winds of up to 210kph (130mph) into the early hours of Sunday, before steadily weakening as it moves inland in the states of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.

Men try to remove fallen trees from a road in the Indian state of Odisha.
Men try to remove fallen trees from a road in the Indian state of Odisha. Credit: REUTERS/Ahmad Masood

Cyclone Phailin's rain and wind could affect 12 million people, weather and disaster management officials said.

People walk among debris from a broken wall after it was damaged by a wave brought by Cyclone Phailin.
People walk among debris from a broken wall after it was damaged by a wave brought by Cyclone Phailin. Credit: REUTERS/R Narendra

Some forecasts said the storm lost some of its strength before reaching the coast, but it remained India's strongest since a typhoon killed 10,000 people in the same region 14 years ago.

Cyclone Phailin makes landfall on India's east coast

Cyclone Phailin has made landfall in Odisha state on the east coast of India, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has confirmed.

A boy tries to cover himself with an umbrella during heavy rain brought by Cyclone Phailin.
A boy tries to cover himself with an umbrella during heavy rain brought by Cyclone Phailin. Credit: Reuters/Adnan Abidi

The cyclone's wind speed as it made landfall was 200kph, which was marginally less than expected.

Oxfam India 'ready and on high alert' for Cyclone Phailin

Oxfam said its team in India is "ready and on high alert" as Cyclone Phailin prepares to make landfall.

Oxfam India wrote on Twitter:

The charity said it was procuring materials such as tarpaulins and chlorine tablets for 5,000 households and has contingency stocks of water, purifiers and sanitation materials ready for deployment.

Sea 'like a cauldron of boiling water' as cyclone nears

Save the Children said conditions in the densely populated area of Odisha, India, were so bad "the sea was like a cauldron of boiling water" as Cyclone Phailin prepares to make landfall.

A woman carries her baby as she moves to a safer place with others at the village Donkuru in Srikakulam district.
A woman carries her baby as she moves to a safer place with others at the village Donkuru in Srikakulam district. Credit: REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Save the Children spokesman Devendra Tak said: "As we drove towards the coast we passed uprooted trees, damaged houses and towns like ghost towns as most people had been evacuated to cyclone shelters.

A girl runs for shelter in heavy rain brought by Cyclone Phailin in Ichapuram town in Srikakulam district.
A girl runs for shelter in heavy rain brought by Cyclone Phailin. Credit: REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

"When we got to the coast the waves were extremely high - the sea was like a cauldron of boiling water.

Waves crash onto the shore at a fishing harbour in Visakhapatnam district.
Waves crash onto the shore at a fishing harbour in Visakhapatnam district. Credit: REUTERS/R Narendra

"It's getting windier and the rain is increasing hour on hour. The cyclone is about to make landfall any time now and we will begin to know the extent of its damage overnight."

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