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Fewer casualties than feared in India cyclone

Fewer casualties than feared in India cyclone
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Cyclone Phailin has left a trail of destruction.

But India’s strongest storm in years has proved less lethal than feared, with 14 deaths reported after nearly a million people took refuge.

Packing winds of more than 200 kilometres per hour, Phailin damaged power lines, trees and homes along the country’s east coast.

But the scale of devastation in Andhra Pradesh and Orissa states was nowhere near what the region endured in 1999. A storm then killed 10,000 people.

Lessons were learned from that tragedy and many lives have, no doubt, been saved by one of India’s biggest-ever mass evacuations. At least seven deaths have been reported.

Cyclone Phailin, one of three major storms over Asia today, is expected to dissipate over the next day or so, losing momentum as it heads inland.

A relief operation is underway, providing food for those forced to flee to shelters, while clean-up and repair work has begun to deal with the damage.