In India, an estimated eighty thousand people have been left homeless after a cyclone swept in from the Bay of Bengal and devastated the south eastern coastal area.
In India, an estimated eighty thousand people have been left homeless after a cyclone swept in from the Bay of Bengal and devastated the south eastern coastal area. At least three hundred and fifty people died and scores are still missing.
SYNOPSIS: The state of Andhra Pradesh suffered the brunt of the storm, which struck the Indian mainland on Saturday (12 May). Here, in the Nellore District, about fifteen thousand dwellings were flattened, trees were uprooted, and vital agricultural crops were destroyed. Authorities estimated that some twenty-one thousand hectares (fifty-seven thousand acres) of rice and tobacco were flooded. Fortunately, weathermen were able to predict the onset of the cyclone and some three hundred thousand people were evacuated from threatened areas before it struck. Nellore and other towns near the coast have been turned into refugee camps with thousands of people sheltering in government offices and schools.
Workmen from neighbouring areas were soon on the scene repairing power and telephone lines and trying to restore road and rail links. Air Force helicopters and boats were being used to take food supplies to stranded villagers. Fourteen of the dead were pilgrims. They were caught in heavy rains while on their way to Hindu temples in the town of Tamil Nadu.
..Nine of the pilgrims -- five of them women -- were carried away by floodwaters. The others were found dead from exposure on a hill. In some of the worst affected areas, villages were still under water three days after the cyclone.
In the Nellore district alone, nearly five thousand head of cattle died and carcasses -- left in the open -- soon began to rot. The flooding left many wells and waterholes contaminated. The Indian Government sent medical teams to carry out vaccinations to prevent possible outbreaks of diseases such as typhoid and cholera.