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Floods kill five in India after cyclone: official
by Staff Writers
Bhubaneswar, India (AFP) Oct 15, 2013


Local residents walk through floodwaters after cyclone Phailin made landfall at Gopalpur junction on October 13, 2013. Cyclone Phailin left a trail of destruction along India's east coast and up to seven people dead after the biggest evacuation in the country's history helped minimise casualties. Photo courtesy AFP.

Cyclone-induced flooding has killed five people in eastern India, a government official told AFP Tuesday.

Heavy rains caused by the strongest cyclone to hit India in 14 years have seen the Budhabalanga river in Orissa state swell, leading to flooding in two districts.

"Five people have died due to flooding in northern Orissa, in Mayurbhanj and Balasore," Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra, the state's special relief commissioner, told AFP.

Rescue teams, already involved in a massive state-wide relief operation to repair homes and restore services knocked out by cyclone Phailin have arrived in the flood zone to offer help, a Delhi-based disaster official said.

"No one is stranded. We are providing dry food packets, water, medicines, antivenom to protect against snake bites," Tripti Parule, spokeswoman for the National Disaster Management Agency said.

"A lot of homes, mostly mud and thatch huts are damaged, due to the rain and wind," she told AFP.

"They will be taken care of once the flood situation is brought under control."

The cyclone struck India's eastern coast Saturday, killing at least 22 people and leaving a trail of destruction.

It pounded Orissa and its southern neighbour Andhra Pradesh, bringing winds of more than 200 kilometres an hour (125 miles per hour), uprooting trees, overturning trucks, snapping power lines and flooding farmland.

Casualties were minimised after one million people spent the night huddled in shelters, temples and schools during the ferocious storm, in what officials said was India's largest ever evacuation operation.

Authorities have since issued an alert warning of possible floods in northern Bihar state Tuesday.

Some of the deadliest storms in history have formed in the Bay of Bengal, including one in 1970 that killed hundreds of thousands of people in modern-day Bangladesh.

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