India's east coast braces for massive cyclone
BHUBANESWAR, India (AFP) - Tens of thousands of terrified villagers braced Saturday for the arrival of a massive cyclone bearing down on India's east coast, packing winds of up 220kmh.
High waves were already pounding rain-drenched beaches and trees were bent double by strong winds ahead of the arrival of Cyclone Phailin, which was expected to make landfall Saturday evening accompanied by a storm surge of up to 3m.
The storm was set to hit in the same coastal area as a devastating cyclone which struck in 1999, killing thousands of people.
Authorities evacuated tens of thousands of people Friday from flimsy thatched shacks along the coasts of the states of Orissa and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh to relief camps.