Cyclone plows Sri Lanka as southern India hunkers down

Source: AFP Published: 2020/12/3 16:58:41

Residents prepare sand bags to protect their homes ahead of cyclone Burevi landfall in Sri Lanka's northeastern coast, in Trincomalee on Wednesday. Photo: AFP

Cyclone Burevi hit Sri Lanka overnight, rattling the island nation but leaving it relatively unscathed on its way to southern India, officials said Thursday.

Burevi, the second cyclone in the southern Bay of Bengal in a week, slammed into northeastern Sri Lanka just before midnight (1830 GMT).

Packing winds up to 100 kilometers an hour, it soaked parts of the country but caused no casualties and less devastation than feared.

"There was rain and strong winds, but the cyclone did not cause any major damage in our area," Mangalanath Liyanarachchi, a local reporter in Trincomalee, 260 kilometers from Colombo, said by telephone.

Thousands of people living along the coast had been asked to seek temporary shelter inland, but they have now moved back to their homes, Liyanarachchi said.

Sri Lanka's Disaster Management Centre (DMC) had issued a red alert and asked fishermen not to venture out to sea. 

Sri Lanka also ordered the closure of schools along the path of the cyclone for three days. But DMC officials said there were no reports of casualties as the cyclone weakened on its way through sparsely populated areas.

The weather system was expected to make landfall in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu overnight Thursday to Friday and move westward into Kerala, Indian forecasters said.

India's National Disaster Response Force said Wednesday that they had deployed around two dozen relief and rescue teams for the two states, for any emergency response after the cyclone.

Kerala's chief minister Pinari Vijayan said around 2,500 relief camps had been identified to relocate people from coastal and low-lying areas.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that the central government was ready to provide "all possible support."


blog comments powered by Disqus