Sunday, October 13, 2013

Cyclone Phailin kills 14, leaves trail of destruction in India

Neha Sharma, Harmeet Shah Singh and Faith Karimi in CNN: Hours after it snapped power lines, overturned cars and ripped away bamboo homes, the most powerful cyclone to hit India in years weakened Sunday, but not before it left at least 14 dead. Morning light revealed damage from Tropical Cyclone Phailin after it pounded the eastern coast, the strongest storm in India in 14 years.

Debris littered wet streets. Buildings had gaping holes where roofs and windows had been. In Odisha state, where the cyclone landed, at least 13 people were killed after trees fell and walls collapsed when the storm hit, Police Chief Prakash Mishra said. Another death was confirmed in Andhra Pradesh state, India's disaster management authority said.

Many had feared the death toll would be higher. Massive evacuation efforts helped limit the number of casualties, officials said. "It is a huge, huge relief," Naveen Patnaik, Odisha's chief minister, told CNN sister network CNN-IBN. "Damage has been minimal."

But in the hardest hit areas, the storm's impact was clear, with flooded highways, fallen trees and downed power lines.  India surveys damage from Cyclone Phailin Cyclone slams India's east coast See Cyclone Phailin make landfall Powerful cyclone makes landfall in India

As a precautionary measure, authorities cut the electricity in the affected districts. It could take up to a week to restore power, authorities said....

Naval Research Laboratory image of Cyclone Phailin, October 11, 2013

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