Severe cyclone causes death and destruction in eastern India

Eight people have died after a severe cyclone damaged homes and blew down trees and power lines in eastern India.

Cyclone Titli, or Butterfly, had winds blowing up to 95mph when it came onshore, the India Meteorological Department said.

It spread rain widely in coastal districts of Orissa state and also hit northern parts of neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.

Eight people died from drowning, wall collapses and fallen trees in the Vijayanagaram and Srikakulam districts of Andhra Pradesh.

A truck driver comes out from his vehicle to take shelter near Gopalpur on the Bay of Bengal coast (AP)

More than 300,000 people were forced to move to higher ground, schools were closed and air and train travel was curtailed. Authorities set up more than 800 shelters stocked with food and relief materials.

Electricity and telephone services were cut in a number of areas in both states.

The cyclone was likely to weaken further and become a deep depression by Friday, the meteorological department said.

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. Boats were ordered ashore and inland ferries were told to suspend services.

- Press Association

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