TYPHOON WALLOPS INDIA’S EAST COAST
A powerful storm hit India's east coast on Wednesday, flattening houses, uprooting trees and electric poles, breaking down sea embankments and flooding large tracts of land, Sunrita Sen reported for Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) late.
Cyclone Yaas, classified as "a very severe cyclonic storm" by India's Meteorological Department (IMD), made landfall along the coast of eastern Odisha state with wind speeds of 130 to 140 kilometers per hour gusting up to 155.
Nearly 2 million people were evacuated from habitations in low-lying areas along the coast of Odisha and neighboring West Bengal before the cyclone arrived.
Officials from the two states said sea surges and flooding brought on by torrential rainfall had inundated thousands of villages. Combined with a lunar high tide, this led to waves as high as 4 meters.
In West Bengal, at least 300,000 homes, mostly mud and thatch, had been damaged and hundreds of villages inundated, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said at a briefing.
She said at least 10 million people had been affected by the storm. Teams of relief, rescue and restoration workers from local administrations, as well as the police, fire brigade, the National Disaster Response Force, the army and the navy were at work.