8 million affected by Indian super cyclone

India Cyclone

INDIAN authorities were this afternoon mobilising disaster teams to respond to a large-scale relief operation after Cyclone Phailin crashed into eastern areas, forcing up to one million people to flee.

Officials are assessing the damage and providing food to hundreds of thousands who spent the night in shelters.

Initial assessments by the Indian Red Cross show that 8 million people have been affected by the disaster with over 200,000 houses damaged.

The cyclone wrecked many coastal homes, uprooted trees and blocked roads in Andhra Pradesh and Orissa states.

A disaster management authority official said 14 people had died, 13 of them in Orissa.

The British Red Cross has launched an emergency appeal in response to the devastating Cyclone Phailin, which struck eastern coastal areas of India yesterday.

The charity this afternoon released an initial £50,000 from its Disaster Fund to provide immediate relief to survivors, and has appealed to members of the public to donate to its emergency appeal.

Pete Garratt, British Red Cross disaster response manager, said: “All indications point to sterling work by Indian authorities in saving lives. However, we are aware that Cyclone Phailin has left a massive trail of destruction, the impact of which will prove devastating to people’s livelihoods and health.

“The full extent of Cyclone Phailin’s impact is still unknown, but we are aware that thousands have lost their homes and livelihoods and crops have been destroyed. Initial reports from our colleagues at the Indian Red Cross show that 8 million people are affected, with 200,000 rural houses damaged. Therefore, a large number of the evacuees cannot return home in the short term,” Garratt said.

To support the British Red Cross India Cyclone appeal please visit www.redcross.org.uk/indiacyclone or call  0845 054 7200

“Roads and bridges have also been affected, leaving some areas cut off. We therefore appeal to the public to support with donations and aid the Indian people in recovering from this disaster,” Garratt explained.

The Indian government, with the support of the Indian Red Cross Society, has evacuated at least 800,000 people in Odisha and Andhra Prahesh states. Relief camps have also been set up in cyclone shelters, schools and public buildings.

Experts have compared Phailin with a super cyclone in 1999 that killed 10,000 people when it battered the coast of Odisha with wind speeds reaching 300 km per hour.

Words by @makiwahenry