SE India counts costs of worst storm in living memory

A cyclone which hit the coast of Andhra Pradesh state in India this week has been described as “the worst storm in recent memory” by Tamil Nadu state chief minister MK Stalin.

The severe cyclonic storm packed winds of up to 100 kilometres an hour (62 mph), the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

Apple iPhone manufacturers Foxconn and Pegatron and automaker Hyundai suspended their operations in Tamil Nadu due to the storm, local media reported.

The cyclone hit India’s southeast coast near the town of Bapatla, on the 300-kilometre (185-mile) stretch between Nellore and Machilipatnam.

Cars were seen floating on raging torrents in Chennai, homes were flooded and people in some parts of the flooded city used boats to get out of their flooded neighbourhoods to the safety of government relief shelters.

The IMD warned of “exceptionally heavy rainfall” in some areas.

Police said that eight people had been killed in Chennai, the state capital of Tamil Nadu on India’s east coast.

Hundreds of people from coastal villages in the neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh were moved inland, with emergency rescue teams deployed to deal with the aftermath of the cyclone’s landfall, according to local media. 

The IMD said damage was expected along the coast including broken trees, power lines and communication infrastructure, as well as flash floods.

Home Minister Amit Shah said the government was “braced to provide all the necessary assistance to Andhra Pradesh”, with rescue teams deployed and more “on standby to mobilise as needed”.