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Cyclone Fani hits Indian coast, a million people evacuated by Jatindra Das May 03,2019   |  Source: Reuters

A powerful cyclone lashed coastal areas of eastern India on Friday with torrential rain and winds gusting up to 200 kilometres per hour (124 mph), but there were no early reports of casualties with a million people evacuated before it made landfall.

Having spent days building up power in the northern reaches of the Bay of Bengal, tropical Cyclone Fani finally struck the coast of Odisha at around 8 am local time (0320 GMT), the state-run India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

The state had evacuated more than a million people from the most vulnerable communities along the low-lying coast during the past 24 hours, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said on Twitter.

Close to 60 km (37 miles) inland, high winds uprooted trees and electricity poles in the state capital, Bhubaneswar, where authorities had ordered the airport to stay closed. Schools and colleges in Odisha were also shut.

Hundreds of disaster management personnel were deployed in the state, and doctors and other medical staff were told to defer any leave until May 15.

Neighbouring West Bengal also decided to close an airport at Kolkata, its state capital.

India’s cyclone season can last from April to December, when severe storms batter coastal cities and cause widespread deaths and damage to crops

 

© 2019 Reuters

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