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11 December 2023

Severe cyclone hits eastern Indian coast with wind, rain

Photo: AP


A severe cyclone damaged mud huts and uprooted trees and electric poles Thursday in eastern India where authorities have moved nearly 300,000 people to higher ground.

The India Meteorological Department said the cyclonic storm named Titli, or Butterfly, had winds blowing up to 150 kilometers per hour (95 mph) and spread widespread rain in coastal districts in eastern Orissa state. It also hit northern parts of neighboring Andhra Pradesh state.

Schools have been closed and air and train travel curtailed. Authorities also set up more than 800 cyclone and flood shelters stocked with food and relief materials.

Fishermen have stayed away from the sea with a storm surge of about a meter (3 feet).

H. R. Biswas, director of Meterological Centre in the state capital Bhubaneshwar, said the cyclone was likely to maintain its intensity until Thursday evening.

Orissa state is prone to cyclones, which develop in the Bay of Bengal. In 1999, a devastating cyclone killed more than 15,000 people.

Bangladesh’s coastal districts were also warned to prepare for possible storm effects there. Boats were ordered ashore and inland ferries were told to suspend services.