Tens of thousands of people have fled their homes in low-lying areas of southern India and moved to evacuation shelters to escape cyclone Nivar as it nears the region’s coast.
Nivar, now categorised as a very severe cyclonic storm, is expected to bring heavy downpours after slamming ashore near Mamallapuram and Karaikal in Tamil Nadu state, the Indian Meteorological Department said. The storm, with sustained winds of 120kph and gusts of up to 145kph is likely to damage crops, trees, and houses, it said.
SN Pradhan, the director of India’s National Disaster Response Force, said thousands of emergency personnel have been deployed in coastal regions of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry states, ready for any damage the cyclone brings.
State governments have cancelled flights and trains as a precaution.
In Tamil Nadu’s capital, Chennai, authorities said they are closely monitoring the level of reservoirs and lakes to avoid a repeat of floods in 2015, when nearly 430 people died in the state, according to ABC News.
In May, nearly 100 people died after Cyclone Amphan, the most powerful storm to hit eastern India in more than a decade, ravaged the region and left millions without power.