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Death toll from Cyclone Vardah rises to 10 in India

13 December 2016 15:56

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The death toll from powerful Cyclone Vardah, which hit the southern Indian tech hub of Chennai, has risen to at least 10 people, authorities say.

“So far 10 people are confirmed dead. We will get reports from rural areas as the day progresses, but the worst is over,” Abhishek Shandiyal, spokesman for the National Diaster Management Authority, said Tuesday.

Most of the deaths happened when the trees were uprooted in winds of up to 140 kilometers (87 miles) per hour.

The storm also destroyed houses and cut off the electricity supply across large swathes of southern India on Monday. Some 18,000 people were evacuated due to the cyclone.

Vardah was the worst cyclonic storm to hit the capital of Tamil Nadu state in more than two decades, India’s meteorological department said.

Shandiyal noted that the storm was weakening as it moved inland.

Television footage showed Cyclone Vardah overturn cars in Chennai, unleashing heavy rainfall and powerful winds.

Operations at Chennai international airport returned to normal on Tuesday after being shut for nearly 12 hours, an airport official said. Train services have also partially resumed work.

Chennai is preparing to host a cricket match between England and India starting Friday, leaving the fate of the event uncertain.

Team India said no decision had yet been taken about delaying the game.

Last year, Chennai was hit by huge floods that claimed the lives of at least 250 people.

The cyclone season in the eastern coast of India usually runs from April to December, with powerful storms leaving dozens of people dead, displacing tens of thousands and inflicting widespread damage on crops and property.

In 1999, over 8,000 people lost their lives when a cyclone hit the eastern province of Orissa, on the Bay of Bengal.

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