Schools shut, thou­sands evac­u­ated as cy­clone bar­rels to­wards In­dia’s south

Flights at Chen­nai air­port de­layed or can­celled

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Author­i­ties in In­dia evac­u­ated tens of thou­sands of peo­ple from low-ly­ing ar­eas and closed schools and col­leges yes­ter­day, as a cy­clone bar­reled to­wards the south­east­ern coast. Cy­clone Var­dah is mov­ing west­wards over the Bay of Ben­gal and is ex­pected to hit Chen­nai, the cap­i­tal of south­ern Tamil Nadu state, as well as neigh­bor­ing Andhra Pradesh in the next few hours, said the In­dian Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Depart­ment, de­scrib­ing it as a “very se­vere storm”.

Rain be­gan bat­ter­ing the dense- ly pop­u­lated coast ahead of the storm’s land­fall, while fierce winds up­rooted trees and elec­tric­ity py­lons. Flights at Chen­nai air­port were de­layed or can­celled. Var­dah is fore­cast to weaken grad­u­ally as it moves west but the Na­tional Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Author­ity (NDMA) said wind speeds had picked up to around 140 kmph (87 mph), with heavy rain ex­pected when the storm reaches land.

A “storm surge” will be about one me­ter (three feet) high. More than 23,000 peo­ple in Tamil Nadu have been moved to re­lief cen­ters, with plans for tens of thou­sands more to be evac­u­ated, a se­nior state of­fi­cial, K Satyagopal said.

More than 10,000 peo­ple from two districts in Andhra Pradesh have also been moved, its dis­as­ter man­age­ment com­mis­sioner, MV Se­sha­giri Babu, said. The NDMA warned fish­er­men not to ven­ture to sea for the next 36 hours, and urged res­i­dents to stay in safe places.

Navy ships and air­craft, as well as 30 div­ing teams, were on standby to help move peo­ple and de­liver aid if needed, a navy spokesman said. In­dia’s cy­clone sea­son usu­ally runs from April to De­cem­ber, with storms of­ten caus­ing dozens of deaths, evac­u­a­tions of tens of thou­sands of peo­ple and wide­spread dam­age to crops and prop­erty.

Wind speeds topped 300 km per hour (186 mph) in an In­dian “su­per-cy­clone” that killed 10,000 peo­ple in 1999, while a cy­clone pack­ing speeds of more than 200 kph (124 mph) lashed the east coast in 2013. — Reuters

CHEN­NAI: A ripped up tree lays across a street in Chen­nai as Cy­clone Var­dah ap­proaches the In­dian coast. — AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.