Trail of destruction, but few deaths

Trail of destruction, but few deaths
A truck driver speaks on his mobile phone after his truck carrying cars was overturned by strong winds on the National Highway.

INDIA - Quick and efficient evacuation of people from the paths of destructive storms in India and the Philippines kept casualty figures low in both countries.

Cyclone Phailin, India's strongest storm in 14 years, left a trail of destruction along the country's east coast yesterday, but there was little loss of life reported after close to a million people took refuge in shelters, Reuters reported.

"We saved lives by putting them in shelters in time," said Mr J.K. Mohapatra, special relief commissioner in the Indian coastal state of Odisha.

Cyclone Phailin was expected to dissipate within 36 hours, losing momentum as it headed inland after making landfall on Saturday from the Bay of Bengal.

However, it still brought winds of more than 200kmh to rip up homes and tear down trees and the authorities said the death toll stood at 14 people, AFP reported.

The cyclone was one of three major storms over Asia yesterday.

The smaller Typhoon Nari, which had earlier struck the Philippines, was approaching Vietnam and Typhoon Wipha loomed over the Pacific.

At least 873,000 people in Odisha and adjacent Andhra Pradesh state spent the night in shelters, some of which had been built after a 1999 storm killed 10,000 in the same area. Others sought safety in schools or temples, in an exercise disaster management officials called one of India's largest evacuations.

Typhoon in Philippines

Typhoon Nari pounded the northern Philippines early on Saturday, killing 13 people and ripping the roofs off thousands of buildings.

It left more than two million without power, AFP reported.

Nari tore into the country's north-east coast as it cut a westwards swathe through the farming regions of the main island of Luzon, officials said.

About 3,000 people moved into government-run shelters before the typhoon struck amid warnings of flooding and landslides.

Military and police rescuers trucked residents out of flooded villages as the weather improved after the typhoon's 120kmh winds swept out to the South China Sea later on Saturday morning.

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