Sat, Dec 02, 2017 - Page 6 News List

Cyclone Ockhi kills at least 16 people in India, Sri Lanka


A powerful cyclone yesterday killed at least 16 people across India and Sri Lanka, uprooting trees and cutting power for millions amid warnings that the storm would intensify.

Officials said nine people were killed in India and seven in neighboring Sri Lanka, most crushed by trees ripped up by destructive winds raging at 130kph.

Warships have been deployed to comb the southeastern coast for fishing boats missing in wild seas, Indian Minister of Defence Nirmala Sitharaman said.

Another official said an estimated 100 crew were aboard the missing vessels, with fears held for their safety.

Torrential wind and rain unleashed by Cyclone Ockhi has shut down schools in Chennai, a coastal Indian city of 7 million where conditions are expected to worsen.

Images broadcast from southern India showed the scale of the destruction as the cyclone reached the shore, with electricity poles toppled and trees torn asunder.

Tourists in Kochi, a coastal city in southern Kerala State, have been told to stay away from popular beaches where huge waves are pounding the shore.

Power was cut for millions in Kerala and neighboring Tamil Nadu as the storm made its way from Sri Lanka, with the India Meteorological Department warning of worse to come.

“The system is very likely to intensify further during next 24 hours,” the department said.

India’s eastern coast — including state capitals such as Chennai and Bhubaneswar, home to millions — is prone to seasonal storms that wreak immense damage between April and December.

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