Thousands Evacuated In India As Strong Cyclone Approaches

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Thousands of emergency personnel have been deployed in coastal regions of the two states for evacuation and possible rescue operations, said S.N. Pradhan, director of India’s National Disaster Response Force. India’s air force and navy were also on standby to carry out relief work.

Last May, nearly 100 people died in Cyclone Amphan, the most powerful storm in more than a decade to hit eastern India, including West Bengal state. It flattened villages, destroyed farms and left millions without power in eastern India and Bangladesh.

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“We haven’t been able to fix the damage to our home from the last cyclone. Now another cyclone is coming, how will we stay here?” said Samitri, who uses only one name.

In Odisha, a state already battered by coronavirus infections, authorities evacuated nearly 15,000 people living along the coast and moved them to cyclone shelters, senior officer Pradeep Jena said.

In a televised address Monday, the state’s chief minister, Naveen Patnaik, appealed to people being moved to cyclone shelters to wear double masks and maintain social distancing. He asked authorities to distribute masks to the evacuated people.

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