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