Severe cyclone hits eastern Indian coast with 95mph winds

A severe cyclone damaged mud huts and uprooted trees and electric poles in eastern India where authorities have moved nearly 300,000 people to higher ground.

The India Meteorological Department said the cyclonic storm named Titli, or Butterfly, had winds blowing up to 95mph with widespread rain in coastal districts in eastern Orissa state.

It also hit northern parts of neighbouring Andhra Pradesh state.

A woman was killed by an uprooted tree and a man died when his house collapsed in Srikakulam district following heavy rains, Andhra Pradesh labour minister Kinjarapu Acchan Naidu said.

Schools have been closed and air and train travel curtailed while authorities set up more than 800 cyclone and flood shelters stocked with food and relief materials.

Fishermen have stayed away from the sea with a storm surge of about three feet.

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

Electricity and telephone links were lost in several towns and villages in Gajapati district and some roads were blocked, but no major damage has been reported yet, Orissa disaster relief official BP Sethi told reporters in Bhubaneshwar, the state capital.

Heavy rains also lashed Srikakulam district in Andhra Pradesh state bordering Orissa, hitting train services.

The cyclone was likely to weaken gradually on Thursday and become a deep depression by Friday, according to the India Meteorological Department in a statement.

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 there.

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

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