Evacuation as cyclone strikes India's southeast

Thousands of people evacuated from their homes in southeast India Wednesday as a cyclone slammed into the coast, killing two people, according to reports, and causing an oil tanker to run aground.

Cyclone Nilam struck the historic port of Mahabalipuram, 50 kilometres (30 miles) south of Chennai, and is forecast to cross the states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh overnight.

The Press Trust of India (PTI) reported that strong winds forced an oil tanker to run aground off the Chennai coast Wednesday afternoon, and said one of the ship's 37 crew members drowned when the lifeboat carrying him capsized.

Rescuers searched frantically for six remaining crew members reported missing in the accident.

Officials in Tamil Nadu state evacuated thousands of people living close to the coast earlier in the day.

"More than 5,000 evacuations have been completed," Jayraman, a disaster management official in Chennai, who only uses one name, told AFP.

The latest bulletin from the India Meteorological Department predicted that winds gusting up to 85 kilometres (49 miles) an hour would trigger heavy rain along India's southeastern coast before the cyclone weakened overnight.

In the former French colony of Pondicherry, a 46-year-old man drowned when he was swept into the turbulent sea while walking along the coast, PTI reported.

The Tamil Nadu government ordered fishermen not to go out to sea until the cyclone weakened.

"We have advised all the schools and colleges to remain closed for the day," Jayraman told AFP.

"All maritime activities have been suspended and the government is monitoring the situation closely."

The cyclone did not make landfall in Chennai, the state capital of Tamil Nadu and home to five million people, before heading inland, he added.

An earlier government bulletin had said the cyclone would likely cause flooding of low-lying areas, extensive damage to thatched roofs and huts and also uproot large trees, leading to power blackouts and communication problems.

Local authorities said they were preparing helicopters and boats for any emergency. Existing cyclone shelters, schools and community halls have also been identified to serve as potential relief camps.

Many shops, government offices and private companies closed early to allow people to travel home before the cyclone struck.

Neighbouring Sri Lanka on Tuesday allowed thousands of people who had been evacuated to return to their homes after the storm, which had been expected to hit the island, changed course and moved towards India.

The last cyclone in India struck in the same southeast region in January, claiming 42 lives and leaving a trail of destruction across Tamil Nadu.

India and Bangladesh are hit regularly by cyclones that develop in the Bay of Bengal between April and November, causing widespread damage to homes, livestock and crops.

Andhra Pradesh saw its worst cyclone in 1977 when more than 10,000 people were killed.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros
    Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros

    The militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) is calling for the pullout of US Marines who arrived in Sagay City, Negros Occidental last Wednesday to train Special Action Force (SAF) commandos and members of the allied forces. The SAF commandos and the allied forces will secure the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meeting in this city. Bayan-Negros secretary general Christian Tuayon said the US troops might violate the human rights of activists, especially those …

  • China subs outnumber US fleet – admiral
    China subs outnumber US fleet – admiral

    China is building some “fairly amazing submarines” and now has more diesel- and nuclear-powered vessels than the United States, a top US Navy admiral told US lawmakers on Wednesday, although he said their quality was inferior. Vice Admiral Joseph Mulloy, deputy chief of naval operations for capabilities and resources, told the House Armed Services Committee’s seapower subcommittee that China was also expanding the geographic areas of operation for its submarines, and their length of …

  • Pacman mega fight tax exemption up to Congress, BIR
    Pacman mega fight tax exemption up to Congress, BIR

    Malacañang is leaving it up to Congress and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to consider a proposed special tax exemption for boxing icon Manny Pacquiao in his much-awaited fight with Floyd Mayweather. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said yesterday it will have to be discussed by Congress because lawmakers are the ones who enact tax exemptions, special or general. Pacquiao has been dogged by unsettled tax obligations with the BIR. …

  • Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together
    Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — After spending 67 years together as devoted husband and wife, there was no question how Floyd and Violet Hartwig would end their lives — together. …

  • Binay backs house arrest for JPE, GMA
    Binay backs house arrest for JPE, GMA

    Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday supported proposals to put Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo under house arrest. “Government prosecutors are opposing house arrest for… Enrile. Binay issued the statement after the 91-year-old Enrile was rushed to the Makati Medical Center on Thursday due to pneumonia. House arrest for him would be the compassionate thing to do,” he added. …

  • 3 Pinays on Forbes power women list
    3 Pinays on Forbes power women list

    Three Filipina executives, who are all daughters of known business tycoons in the country, made it to Forbes’ list of the 50 most powerful businesswomen in Asia. Teresita Sy-Coson, vice chairman of SM Investments and chairman of BDO Universal Bank, was included in the list for the fourth year in a row since its inception. “Under her (Sy-Coson) lead SMIC became the largest listed company on the Philippine Stock Exchange by market cap. Also in the 2015 list is 70-year-old Helen Yuchengco-Dee, …

  • Hijacked Indonesian vessel found in Davao
    Hijacked Indonesian vessel found in Davao

    An Indonesian cargo vessel that was hijacked a month ago in North Sulawesi, Indonesia has been found stuck in the waters off Mati, Davao Oriental, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported yesterday. PCG spokesperson Armand Balilo said the PCG- Southeastern Mindanao district was informed on Feb. 23 that the M/T Rehoboth was found aground off Barangay Cabuaya. Four personnel from the local PCG district office were sent to verify the report. The vessel was reportedly hijacked by …

  • Phl now biggest grower of GM crops
    Phl now biggest grower of GM crops

    The Philippines is now the twelfth biggest grower of genetically modified (GM) crops. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options