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Five dead and half a million in shelters as Cyclone Phailin hits India

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Five dead and half a million in shelters as Cyclone Phailin hits India

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At least five people have been killed and half a million forced into shelters as Cyclone Phailin makes landfall on India’s eastern coast.

Bringing with it 200 kilometre-per-hour winds and torrential rain, the storm is threatening to devastate farmland and fishing hamlets.

Disaster management officials say 12 million people are in the cyclone’s path.

Shashidhar Reddy, Vice Chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority, said his department had deployed 2,300 personnel – the largest single response to a disaster ever.

In 1999 a cyclone of similar strength killed 10,000 people in the same region.

Aid agencies and disaster management teams hope that better preparation and early warning will mean far fewer casualties this time.