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Cyclone Fani: Mass evacuations as storm moves up India's coast

May 3, 2019 5:22 am

Thousands of people are being evacuated from villages along India’s eastern coastline ahead of a severe cyclone.

Cyclone Fani is heading towards the state of Orissa with wind speeds in excess of 200 km/h (127 mph), and is expected to make landfall on Friday.

Officials have shut down operations at two major ports on the east coast, and thousands of officials are helping to evacuate people in low-lying areas.

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Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu states are also on high alert.

About 800,000 people are being evacuated, officials told the BBC. Nearly 100,000 live in the city of Puri where Fani is predicted to make landfall on Friday morning.

Puri is also home to the 858-year-old Jagannath temple and officials fear it could be damaged by the cyclone.

All schools and universities in the state have shut.

The Indian Navy said it had sent seven warships to the area, and six planes and seven helicopters were on standby for relief operations.

Forecasters have warned that torrential rain could trigger a storm surge of about 1.5m (5ft) in some low-lying areas of Orissa, also known as Odisha.

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