News / Asia

In India, Damage but Few Deaths From Cyclone Phailin

Indian people watch high tide waves as they stand at the Bay of Bengal coast in Vishakhapatnam, India, Oct. 12, 2013. Hundreds of thousands of people living along India's eastern coastline were taking shelter Saturday from a massive, powerful cyclone PhaiIndian people watch high tide waves as they stand at the Bay of Bengal coast in Vishakhapatnam, India, Oct. 12, 2013. Hundreds of thousands of people living along India's eastern coastline were taking shelter Saturday from a massive, powerful cyclone Phai
x
Indian people watch high tide waves as they stand at the Bay of Bengal coast in Vishakhapatnam, India, Oct. 12, 2013. Hundreds of thousands of people living along India's eastern coastline were taking shelter Saturday from a massive, powerful cyclone Phai
Indian people watch high tide waves as they stand at the Bay of Bengal coast in Vishakhapatnam, India, Oct. 12, 2013. Hundreds of thousands of people living along India's eastern coastline were taking shelter Saturday from a massive, powerful cyclone Phai
Aru Pande
A day after one of the largest storms in decades slammed into India’s east coast, authorities are crediting mass evacuations for a minimal loss of life from Cyclone Phailin.  At least 14 people have been killed so far in storm-related incidents.

Indian authorities knew Phailin was on its way, and did not waste time dispatching hundreds of members of the army’s National Defense Response Force to the eastern states of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh on Saturday in anticipation of the very severe cyclone.

Meanwhile, police, television and radio reports helped spread the word getting nearly a million people to take shelter in government buildings, schools and temples as more than 200-kilometer winds bore down on the coast late Saturday into early Sunday.

Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik credits one of the largest evacuation operations in India’s history for saving lives.

“Normalcy will come back soon. Our primary responsibility was to protect the valuable lives of our citizens. I think we have been successful in minimizing the loss of precious lives,” said Patnaik.

Patnaik said military helicopters that were on standby to rescue storm victims did not have to be deployed during Phailin.

Officials did not want a repeat of 1999, when a cyclone formed in the Bay of Bengal hit the same area, causing widespread damage and killing at least 10,000 people.
Still Cyclone Phailin left a trail of destruction, downing power and communication lines, uprooting trees, and damaging more than 200,000 homes. Officials say some nine million people have been affected by the storm.

The Director General of India’s Meteorological Department, L.S. Rathore, says the priority now is rehabilitation and recovery, with workers mobilized as soon as the brunt of Phailin passed through Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.

Rathore said, “when it comes to the downed trees, authorities have been working since the morning to clear roads and lessen the impact for travelers.”
Orissa’s Revenue and Disaster Minister S. N. Patro told reporters the cyclone damaged some 500,000 hectares of crops - a huge blow to the impoverished state, which relies primarily on agriculture.

And it’s not over yet. Meteorological officials say the effects of Phailin will be felt as far away as the Himalayas. The cyclone is expected to become a severe depression, weakening gradually - but still causing heavy rain and strong winds of at least 50 kilometers per hour until early Tuesday as it moves inward through Chhattisgarh and Bihar states. Flood warnings are already in place in some areas.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More