Death toll from Cyclone Hudhud rises in eastern India | News | DW | 13.10.2014
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Death toll from Cyclone Hudhud rises in eastern India

Rescue workers and soldiers are clearing up damage left by Cyclone Hudhud along India's eastern coastline. The death toll from the cyclone has risen to 24 despite a huge evacuation effort.

The death toll from powerful Cyclone Hudhud rose to 24 on Monday, a day after it hit the coasts of the eastern Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Odissa with winds of up to 195 kph (more than 120 mph).

Twenty-one were killed in Andhra Pradesh and three in Orissa, officials said. Most of the deaths were attributed to injuries from collapsed walls and falling trees.

At least 400,000 people had been evacuated from coastal areas before the storm hit, preventing a repeat of the deadly devastation caused by a cyclone in 1999 that ripped into Orissa's coastline and killed at least 10,000 people.

High winds destroyed some 80,000 thatched huts across Orissa state, according to P.K. Mahapatra, the state's special relief commissioner.

A state government official from Andhra Pradesh said more than 6,500 homes were damaged there.

Devastation in Visakhapatnam

Government workers in the port city of Visakhapatnam have begun clearing up debris left by the cyclone, including toppled trees blocking roads, snapped power and telephone lines and corrugated-iron roofing torn from buildings. Schools and many offices were closed, and power was out for a second day.

The Indian air force took advantage of better weather on Monday to drop food packets in and around Visakhapatnam, which is home to some two million people.

The cyclone has since weakened after moving inland, but India's weather office says it is likely to dump heavy rains in the country's north and northeast.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said he will visit the area on Tuesday.

Cyclone territory

Exactly one year ago, Cyclone Phailin - the strongest tropical storm to hit India in more than a decade - battered the state of Orissa, causing huge devastation - but claiming only some 25 lives, owing to a successful evacuation effort. Cyclone Hudhud was similar in size and strength to Phailin.

India's eastern seaboard and neighboring Bangladesh are regularly exposed to cyclones that brew in the Bay of Bengal in the period from April to November.

Twenty-seven of the deadliest storms in recorded history have formed in the Bay before landing in either India or Bangladesh.

tj/jr (AP, Reuters)

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