Floods kill five in India after cyclone

This handout photograph released by the Ministry of Defence shows a flooded area near Balasore following Cyclone Phailin on Monday, Oct 14, 2013. Cyclone-induced flooding has killed five people in eastern India, a government official told AFP on
This handout photograph released by the Ministry of Defence shows a flooded area near Balasore following Cyclone Phailin on Monday, Oct 14, 2013. Cyclone-induced flooding has killed five people in eastern India, a government official told AFP on Tuesday, Oct 15, 2013. -- PHOTO: AFP / MINISTRY OF DEFENCE

BHUBANESWAR, India (AFP) - Cyclone-induced flooding has killed five people in eastern India, a government official told AFP on Tuesday.

Heavy rains caused by the strongest cyclone to hit India in 14 years have seen the Budhabalanga river in Odisha state swell, leading to flooding in two districts.

"Five people have died due to flooding in northern Odisha, in Mayurbhanj and Balasore," Mr Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra, the state's special relief commissioner, told AFP.

Rescue teams, already involved in a massive state-wide relief operation to repair homes and restore services knocked out by cyclone Phailin, have arrived in the flood zone to offer help, a Delhi-based disaster official said.

"No one is stranded. We are providing dry food packets, water, medicines, antivenom to protect against snake bites," Ms Tripti Parule, spokeswoman for the National Disaster Management Agency said.

"A lot of homes, mostly mud and thatch huts are damaged, due to the rain and wind," she told AFP. "They will be taken care of once the flood situation is brought under control."

The cyclone struck India's eastern coast on Saturday, killing at least 22 people and leaving a trail of destruction.

It pounded Odisha and its southern neighbour Andhra Pradesh, bringing winds of more than 200 kilometres an hour, uprooting trees, overturning trucks, snapping power lines and flooding farmland.

Casualties were minimised after one million people spent the night huddled in shelters, temples and schools during the ferocious storm, in what officials said was India's largest ever evacuation operation.

Authorities have since issued an alert warning of possible floods in northern Bihar state on Tuesday.

Some of the deadliest storms in history have formed in the Bay of Bengal, including one in 1970 that killed hundreds of thousands of people in modern-day Bangladesh.