Cyclone Helen makes landfall on India's east coast

Cyclone Helen has made landfall across the eastern coastline of India bringing along strong winds and heavy rain. Philip Avery has more.

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A cyclone has made landfall on India's east coast with winds of up to 90km/h (55mph) and heavy rain, the country's meteorological department has said.

Thousands of people were evacuated from coastal areas in advance of the storm. So far there have been no immediate reports of any casualties.

Cyclone Helen is expected to trigger storm surges of up to 1.5m (5ft).

At least 27 people died when a stronger cyclone, Phailin, hit India's eastern coast last month.

The meteorological department has classed Cyclone Helen as "severe" and has warned of "extensive damage to thatched roofs and huts".

It says there will be "minor damage to power and communication lines due to uprooting of large trees" in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

Twenty rescue teams had been deployed in the flood zone, a spokeswoman for the National Disaster Management Agency, Tripti Parule, told the AFP news agency.

"Evacuations of thousands has already taken place and provision for food, water and shelter are also on track," she said, adding that the aim was for "zero casualties".

Last month Cyclone Phailin destroyed tens of thousands of homes, uprooted trees and blocked roads in the states of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.

Hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated ahead of Phailin, which was classified as a "very severe" cyclone.

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