BHUBANESWAR (India) • A cyclone slammed into India's eastern seaboard yesterday, killing at least five people, snapping phone poles and power lines and leaving hundreds of thousands without electricity.
Strong gusts caused a storm surge with waters inundating low-lying areas in the eastern states of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. The winds, on a par with a Category 2 hurricane, wreaked havoc on infrastructure, blocking roads and hampering emergency work.
"Five people died due to falling trees and a wall collapse," said Disaster Management Commissioner of Andhra Pradesh D. Varaprasad, adding that drinking water shortages were a concern due to power outages.
Tropical cyclone Titli, with gusts of up to 165kmh, made landfall in the Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh in the early hours, the Meteorological Department said.
"Around 400,000 to 500,000 people are now without electricity," the district's administrative chief K. Dhananjaya Reddy said.
TV footage showed massive waves and tin roofs of several houses being blown away.
Odisha's Special Relief Commissioner Bishnupada Sethi said there had been no reports of casualties in the state so far. "There has been preparation at all levels within the state," Mr Sethi told Reuters.
Officials there had evacuated over 300,000 people, suspended operations at the port of Paradip and cancelled many trains and flights on Wednesday. Schools and colleges across the state would remain closed for the week.