India avoids widespread deaths in cyclone
BEHRAMPUR, India — Mass evacuations spared India the widespread deaths many had feared from a powerful cyclone that roared ashore during the weekend, officials said on Sunday as the country sorted through the wreckage of flooded towns, tangled power lines and tens of thousands of destroyed thatch homes.
Cyclone Phailin, the strongest storm to hit India in more than a decade, destroyed hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of crops, but more than 20 hours after it made landfall in Orissa state on the country's east coast, authorities said they knew of 17 fatalities.
The final death toll is expected to climb as officials reach areas of the cyclone-battered coast that remain isolated by downed communication links and blocked roads, but the evacuation of nearly 1 million people appeared to have saved many lives.
On the highway to the seaside city of Gopalpur, where the storm made landfall early Saturday night, two tractor-trailers with shattered windshields were lying on their sides, while a hotel nearby was in tatters, with tables and chairs strewn about.
“We were terrified,” A-1 Hotel owner Mihar Ranjan said of himself and 14 others who had been huddling inside when the wind ripped the tin roof off the building.
Gopalpur's power lines sagged nearly to the ground, and a strong surf churned off the coast. But some shops were opened, doing brisk business selling bottled drinks and snacks.
“Everyone feels very lucky,” said Prabhati Das, a 40-year-old woman who came from the town of Behrampur, about 7 miles inland.
A cargo ship carrying iron ore, the MV Bingo, sank Saturday as the cyclone barreled through the Bay of Bengal, and its crew of 18 went missing for a day, coast guard officials said. They were being rescued on Sunday evening.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- ISIS’ message of terror heeded in Pakistan, China, Africa
- Hong Kong police warn protesters not to charge buildings
- Coalition airstrikes fail to slow ISIS attacks on key cities
- Donetsk rattled by explosions; airport at risk
- Iran will not halt uranium enrichment
- Venezuela’s Maduro says airlines wage ‘economic war’
- With help from U.S.-led airstrikes, Kurds retake strategic border town
- Obama, India PM forge deals on major issues
- Britain’s Cameron vows to cut taxes, deficit, EU powers
- Sides reach out to undecided in Hong Kong
- Reports say China fears doves of war