India

Cyclone Hudhud approaches Indian states

Fishermen sort their fishing nets after they return with their catch on the Bay of Bengal coast at Puri, Orissa state Oct 10, 2013 Image copyright AP
Image caption Fishermen have been asked not to venture out to sea in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh

Authorities in India say they are planning evacuations and stocking up on rations as a powerful cyclone heads for the south-eastern coast.

Cyclone Hudhud, categorised as "severe" by weather forecasters, is expected to hit Orissa and Andhra Pradesh states on Sunday.

The Meteorological Department has predicted the storm will bring winds of up to 140km/h (87mph).

A super-cyclone in 1999 killed more than 10,000 people in Orissa.

The Meteorological Department said Cyclone Hudhud was due to make landfall on Sunday afternoon, Indian time. The centre of the storm was expected to hit the key port city of Vishakapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.

Authorities have begun planning mass evacuations and stocking shelters with rations. Disaster relief teams are also being sent to the two states which will bear the brunt of the storm.

"We are stocking all the essential commodities so that people are not cut off from the supply of rations," senior Vishakhapatnam official N Yuvaraj told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"We are assessing the probable habitations which are to be evacuated. We have also have warned fishermen not to venture out to sea, and are sending communication to those already out there to return to the coast."

India's eastern coast and Bangladesh are routinely hit by cyclonic storms between April and November which cause deaths and widespread damage to property.

Last October as many as 500,000 people in India were evacuated when a severe cyclone called Phailin swept through Orissa and Andhra Pradesh states.

In December 2011, Cyclone Thane hit the southern state of Tamil Nadu, killing dozens of people.

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