India Braces For Cyclone Hudhud

BY TAI CHISHAKWE - OCTOBER 10, 2014

India is planning evacuations and stocking up on rations as a powerful cyclone heads for the country’s south-eastern coast. Cyclone Hudhud is expected to hit Orissa and Andhra Pradesh states on Sunday afternoon (Indian time) and has been predicted to bring winds of up to 140km/h.

In 1999, a super-cyclone killed more than 10 000 people in Orissa.

Cyclone Hudhud is expected to hit the key port city of Vishakapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.

The Indian government said it had begun planning mass evacuations and stocking shelters with rations. Disaster relief teams are also being sent to the two states which will bear the brunt of the storm.

"We are stocking all the essential commodities so that people are not cut off from the supply of rations," senior Vishakhapatnam official N Yuvaraj told Reuters.

"We are assessing the probable habitations which are to be evacuated. We have also have warned fishermen not to venture out to sea, and are sending communication to those already out there to return to the coast."

India's eastern coast and Bangladesh are routinely hit by cyclonic storms between April and November which cause deaths and widespread damage to property.

Last October as many as 500 000 people in India were evacuated when a severe cyclone called Phailin swept through Orissa and Andhra Pradesh states.

In December 2011, Cyclone Thane hit the southern state of Tamil Nadu, killing dozens of people.