India evacuates 780,000 as major cyclone nears

India evacuates 780,000 as major cyclone nears
# 02 May 2019 12:00 (UTC +04:00)

Nearly 800,000 people in India's eastern coastal districts have been evacuated ahead of the expected arrival of a major cyclone packing winds of up to 200 kilometers (125 miles) per hour, officials said Thursday, ONA reports citing India Times.

The Indian weather service said Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm Fani is expected to make landfall on Friday afternoon near the Hindu holy town of Puri.

A state relief department official told AFP that 780,000 people were moved to safer places overnight from at least 13 districts of Odisha state that will bear the brunt of the powerful cyclone.

"More people are being moved to safer places," an official from the department told AFP.

Some 1,000 shelters in schools and government buildings have been set up to accommodate more than a million people.

On Thursday the storm, which reports said was the biggest to hit eastern India in nearly two decades, was brewing in the Bay of Bengal some 450 kilometers offshore and moving westwards.

The cyclone was expected to pack sustained wind speeds of 180-190 km/h (111-118 mp/h), bringing gusts of up to 200 km/h (124 mp/h), and is equivalent in strength to a Category 3 to 4 hurricane.

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