Cyclone 'Hudhud' hits India's east coast
At least 400,000 people were evacuated from the coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa states, as 190 kilometer-per-hour winds struck India's east coast

More than 400,000 people were evacuated as Cyclone Hudhud struck India’s east coast Sunday.

Heavy rains and strong winds blowing at the speed of 190 kilometers per hour (120 miles per hour) wreaked havoc in coastal towns and villages, officials of Indian Meteorological Department told reporters.

The port city of Visakhapatnam or Vizag in Andhra Pradesh state was at the centre of the cyclone where at least three people have been reported killed.

The cyclone -- classed as "very severe" -- unleashed its fury starting from the Bay of Bengal at 11 a.m. local time, uprooting trees and electrical poles, snapping telephone lines and disrupting the supply of electricity in the two million strong city of Vizag.

"The window panes shuddered and shook violently as the storm struck," Abhishek Neotia, a businessman from Vizag, told The Anadolu Agency in a phone conversation.

Neotia said the situation was extremely grave in the city, but said that buildings on the coast would bear the brunt of the cyclone.

The phone line went dead as Neotia was speaking to The AA.

Evacuations have taken place in 500 villages in the region Saturday. In Andhra Pradesh, 250 relief shelters have been set up on high ground.

The cyclone subsided after its eye passed through Vizag but meteorological official L.S. Rathore warned in a press conference that the after-effects would have "great damage potential." Relief and rescue operations would be crucial after 6 p,m, when the storm would enter into a "depression" phase.

"I appeal to people in coastal districts to stay indoors even 6 hours after the cyclone has passed by. Your safety is my concern," insisted the Andhra Pradesh chief minister, Chandrababu Naidu, in a tweet.

Orissa, another coastal state, saw milder winds and there was no loss of life reported in the state.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Naidu, and assured him of all possible assistance required in relief and rescue operations.

Indian Meteorological Department officials have predicted heavy rains over the next few days in coastal states in south India.

Last year, cyclone Phailin struck India’s east coast killing 53.

The Indian Ocean has witnessed some of the deadliest cyclones in the recorded history with 27 out of 35 coming through Bay of Bengal affecting either India or Bangladesh. In 1999, at least 10,000 people were killed when a huge cyclone struck the Orissa coastline.

Last Modified: 2014-10-13 07:25:27
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