23 killed as cyclone Laila batters southern India
At least 23 people were killed and some reportedly missing over the last two days as a powerful cyclone battered the coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh in southern India, said officials, Xinhua reported.
"Some 23 people were killed while at least 55 fishermen are missing as cyclone Laila left a trail of devastation in the state' s coastal areas. The cyclone also snapped power lines and caused landslides and heavy rains, stalling road and rail transport networks around the state," the official said.
He added that the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force have been pressed into service for rescue and relief operations while senior government officials are overseeing the operations.
Indian authorities Thursday evacuated over 40,000 people from the coastal areas of the state as the cyclone closed in.
However, an Indian Meteorological Department official said the cyclone has waned and moving towards the eastern state of Orissa.
"Rains and powerful winds triggered by cyclonic storm Laila have already started lashing Orissa's winding coast," he said.
India and neighboring Bangladesh are affected regularly by cyclones which form in the Bay of Bengal between April and November.
It is the worst storm to hit Andhra Pradesh in 14 years. In 1977, over 10,000 people were killed when a cyclone hit Andhra Pradesh.