Newspaper article International New York Times

300,000 Evacuated as Strong Cyclone Hits Eastern India

Newspaper article International New York Times

300,000 Evacuated as Strong Cyclone Hits Eastern India

Article excerpt

One of the regions worst affected by the storm was the coast of Andhra Pradesh, where at least two people were killed.

A powerful cyclone crashed against the eastern coast of India close to noon on Sunday, uprooting trees, lashing the area with heavy rain and wind, and disrupting power and communication lines.

Close to 300,000 people had been evacuated from their homes in parts of the states of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh as of Sunday evening, according to disaster and relief officials in each state. One of the worst-hit regions was the coast of Andhra Pradesh, where more than 130,000 people were evacuated starting Saturday, and where the 15-mile eye of the storm passed on Sunday afternoon. The storm, which is called Cyclone Hudhud, hit the southern port city of Visakhapatnam, where there is a major naval base.

"There is huge damage," said N. Chandrababu Naidu, the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, in a telephone interview with the Indian news channel NDTV. "Even to buildings, trees and also crops. Communication has totally collapsed."

Officials with the Indian Meteorological Department said to NDTV that the winds from the cyclone were about 121 miles per hour, earning a "very severe" cyclone designation, but that within six hours the winds would diminish by half, reducing the storm to a cyclone. Six hours after that, officials said, winds would further weaken by half, making it a "depression" by midnight.

At least two people in Andhra Pradesh were killed in the storm -- one man who was hit by a felled tree and one woman who was crushed by a collapsing wall, according to A.R. Sukumar, the state's disaster management commissioner. Three more people were killed in Odisha. On Saturday, an overloaded government evacuation boat capsized in the state after it hit a tree trunk, drowning a 6-year- old girl and a 13-year-old boy, according to P.K. Mohapatra, the special relief commissioner in the state. A fisherman rescuing his boat at midnight on Saturday was also killed. …

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