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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Evacuations 'kept cyclone death toll to a bare minimum'

India's National Disaster Management Authority said the large scale evacuation operation ahead of Cyclone Phailin had kept the death toll to a "bare minimum".

A woman stands outside her damaged house after Cyclone Phailin hit Gopalpur in eastern India. Credit: REUTERS/Ahmad Masood

Vice chairman Shashidhar Reddy told reporters in Delhi, "Another thing that has happened, it has moved on, it didn't remain stationary. So that has also helped, even though it was 200kph (124mph) wind speed."

Phailin weakened significantly after making landfall as a Category 4 storm, with sustained winds of up to 210kph (131mph), according to Indian meteorologists.

Rehabilitation 'big challenge' for India's government

India's chief minister said rehabilitation following Cyclone Phailin will be a "big challenge" for the government.

A family waits to board a boat as they return to their villages after Cyclone Phailin hit. Credit: REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik told reporters today, "Our top priority was to save lives and I think we've been successful. Now rehabilitation is a big challenge."

A woman walks past a fallen marquee and chairs set up for a Christian prayer service in Ranchi, India. Credit: REUTERS/Stringer

Nearly one million people were evacuated ahead of the cyclone hitting the coast in the country's biggest evacuation operation, India's NDTV reported.


Cyclone Phailin 'claims 14 lives'

Hundreds of thousands of people fled coastal areas as Cyclone Phailin hit. Credit: REUTERS/Stringer

Fourteen people were killed by the cyclone that lashed India's east coast over the weekend, an Indian disaster management official has said.

Marri Shashidhar Reddy of the National Disaster Management Authority told reporters that 13 of the deaths were in the state of Orissa, with another in Andhra Pradesh.

Round-up so far of Cyclone Phailin in India

An immense, powerful cyclone packing destructive winds has hammered eastern India, forcing more than 500,000 people to evacuate and sending seawater surging inland.

Here are the latest developments:

  • The confirmed casualties are now seven although there are few more
  • The number is significantly lower than what it could have been because many have been shifted to cyclone relief shelters
  • Severe damage reported in south Odisha, especially Ganjam and Puri
  • Lot of the roads that have been blocked bring cleared by relief workers
  • Doctors, medicines and food have been arranged in vulnerable districts
  • The casualty figure will change as few places are still cut-off
  • Power is down even in parts which were not at the centre of the storm
  • In Gopalpur, where the cyclone made landfall, almost 90-95% people have been evacuated

Source: NDTV


'Few casualties' despite 'severe' damage from cyclone

Charity Save the Children has told ITV News that he fears there will "severe damage", after a huge cyclone hit the east coastline of India.

Devendra Tak, the national manager of media and communications for the charity said that despite areas being "battered", buildings were "holding strong".

He added that he had not "heard of any large numbers of people becoming casualties" as of yet.

Aid agencies gear up to help amid Cyclone Phailin

Half-a-million people have been forced to flee their homes as India faced its biggest cyclone since the turn of the century.

Aid agencies are gearing up to help those worst affected by the storm, though the full extent of the damage - including a death toll - will not be known until daybreak.

People take shelter at a wedding hall after leaving their houses to take shelter from the impact of the approaching Cyclone Phailin. Credit: Reuters

Children's charity World Vision said its teams on the ground were already seeing signs of the storm.

Dharmendra Naik, manager of its programmes in Jagathsinghpur district, said: "Our staff along the coast have been seeing rain falling continuously and winds pick up. People have been trying to stock up on essentials and that has caused the price of many items to be driven higher."

Mud houses face destruction in India Cyclone Phailin

India's weather department has warned mud houses faced destruction, as a powerful cyclone hit the eastern coastline. It said the disruption of power and communication lines and the flooding of railways and roads was likely.

"We already evacuated more than one lakh [100,000] people. So to that extent we are safe", said the Disaster Management Commissioner for Andhra Pradesh state, T Radha.

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