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Villages in Andhra Pradesh were inundated and crops were being ruined in the so-called Rice Bowl of India [AP]
|Days of torrential rains in southeast India have unleashed floods that have blocked roads, halted trains and forced the evacuation of nearly 70,000 people from hundreds of low-lying villages.
The Press Trust of India on Saturday cited Andhra Pradesh state officials as saying that 39 people had died in flood-related incidents since the rains began Monday.
Villages were inundated and crops were being ruined in the so-called Rice Bowl of India. Many drowned when swept away by surging waters or were killed when weakened walls collapsed onto them.
Railway services have also been suspended along routes where tracks were damaged.
The local Disaster Management Department said evacuated residents were sheltering in 178 camps, while relief workers in boats and helicopters were working to help or rescue hundreds of thousands stranded by floods that have swamped both coastal and inland regions along rivers.
The region was hit earlier this month by a powerful cyclone that prompted authorities to evacuate nearly a million people in Andhra Pradesh and Orissa states.
India’s Meteorological Department on Saturday forecast the rains to continue for at least another day.
- Tens of thousands flee India flooding; 39 dead (nzherald.co.nz)
- Floods follow storm havoc in eastern India – Asia – Al Jazeera English (olduvaiblog.wordpress.com)
Cyclone Phailin Threatens Tens Of Thousands In Eastern India. (FULL ARTICLE)
BHUBANESHWAR, India — BHUBANESHWAR, India (AP) — Officials ordered tens of thousands of coastal villagers to flee their homes Friday as a massive cyclone — so large it filled nearly the entire Bay of Bengal — gathered strength and headed toward India’s eastern seaboard.
Officials cancelled holy day celebrations and stockpiled emergencies supplies in coastal Orissa and Andhra Pradesh states, with forecasters saying Cyclone Phailin will hit the region Saturday evening.
The Indian Meteorological Department warned that Phailin was a “very severe cyclonic storm” that was expected to hit with maximum sustained winds of 210-220 kph (130-135 mph). If the storm continues on its current path without weakening, it is expected to cause large-scale power and communications outages, and shut down road and rail links, officials say. There would also be extensive damage to crops.
Satellite images of the storm showed its spinning tails reaching nearly 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) from the east coast of India to the west coast of Myanmar, an area roughly the size of France.
Using trucks and buses, authorities evacuated 40,000 people from 40 villages to government-run shelters, schools and buildings in five districts of Orissa state, said Surya Narayan Patra, the state revenue and disaster management minister….
- Wind, rain, sea pound India as large cyclone nears (kansascity.com)
- Waves pound India as Cyclone Phailin approaches (telegraph.co.uk)
- Thousands batten down and flee eastern India as Cyclone Phailin prepares to cause chaos (metro.co.uk)
Tens of thousands fled their homes in coastal areas of eastern India and moved to shelters on Friday, bracing for the fiercest cyclone to threaten the country since a devastating storm killed 10,000 people 14 years ago.
Large waves were already pounding beaches in the state of Andhra Pradesh over a day before Cyclone Phailin was due to hit. Villagers were evacuated to schools in the north of the state and in neighbouring Odisha, while panic buying drove up food prices.
Satellite images showed Phailin some 500 km off the coast in the Bay of Bengal and likely to make landfall on Saturday evening, with widespread flooding expected from surges.
The images showed the storm covering an area roughly half the size of India. Some forecasters likened its size and intensity to that of hurricane Katrina, which devastated the U.S. Gulf coast and New Orleans in 2005….
- Cyclone Phailin may be worse than Katrina, warns US meteorologist (ndtv.com)
- Tens of thousands flee as cyclone ‘half the size of India’ threatens east coast (dnaindia.com)
- India braces for cyclone (worldbulletin.net)