A powerful cyclone Friday lashed coastal areas of eastern India with torrential rain and winds gusting up to 200km an hour forcing millions to look for shelters elsewhere.
“I can confirm two deaths for now. One old man in one of the shelters died because of [a] heart attack. Another person went out in the storm despite our warnings and died because a tree fell on him,” Odisha state special relief commissioner Bishnupada Sethi told AFP news agency on Friday.
Indian Railways said more than 200 trains were cancelled along coastal routes. Thousands of people fleeing the cyclone were faced with a long wait at the railway stations.
Neighboring West Bengal also decided to close an airport at Kolkata, the state capital.
“We are not able to know what’s happening outside. There’s darkness everywhere,” Jyotirmayee Panda, a resident of Puri in Odisha, said.
“We can only hear the sound caused by roofs being blown away and poles and trees hitting the ground. That is quite scary. The wind is picking up speed and water is now entering our homes. We are unable to cook and just god will save us.”
“We don’t know how long we have to wait here. We were not prepared for this kind of situation. We need food and a safe shelter,” said Deepak Mohanty, a passenger at Bhubaneswar railway station.