Two fishermen were reported dead after a cyclone packing strong winds and rains barrelled into India’s east coast late on Sunday, 26 September, forcing the evacuation of more than 200,000 people in three states to shelters.
Cyclone Gulab made landfall between the coastal states of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh just after 6pm local time (12:30 GMT), bearing gusts of up to 95kph, the state-run India Meteorological Department said.
A rescue operation was launched after a fishing boat travelling from Odisha to Andhra Pradesh capsized during the storm, local media reported.
Three fishermen swam to shore, two others died and a sixth person from the vessel was still missing.
There were also early reports of trees being uprooted as the cyclone hit a coastal district in Andhra Pradesh.
The weather bureau added that Gulab was forecast to gradually weaken in the next few hours.
Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal had ordered tens of thousands of people to move to shelters, after forecasts that the storm from the Bay of Bengal would bring ‘strong winds and very heavy (and) extremely heavy rainfall’.
In Andhra Pradesh, some 110,000 families were moved from low-lying areas to temporary relief shelters.
In West Bengal north of Odisha, authorities, fearful that Gulab could wreak havoc despite being unlikely to hit the state directly, said they still carried out evacuations.
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