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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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'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. 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. 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. 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.

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