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November 26, 2020

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South India bracing for severe cyclone

Hundreds of people in low-lying areas in India’s southern city of Chennai were evacuated and more than 150 relief centers were on standby ahead of a severe cyclone, officials said yesterday.

The Meteorological Department said Cyclone Nivar was likely to make landfall in the early hours of today and was likely to bring heavy rainfall.

Areas in and around Chennai saw intense spells of rain, accompanied by strong winds yesterday.

The cyclone was likely to damage houses and roads, uproot power lines and trees and destroy crops along India’s southeast coast, the department said in a statement.

Edappadi Palaniswami, Tamil Nadu state’s chief minister, declared yesterday and today public holidays in some areas, ordered the halting of bus services, advised fishermen not venture to sea and asked people to stay indoors.

Many carmakers in Chennai, home to a flourishing automobile industry dubbed the “Detroit of South Asia,” shut operations yesterday, and some are likely to remain closed today.

Vessels in the city’s port have been moved to sea and port operations will likely remain shut until the cyclone makes landfall, a senior port official said.

Local government officials in Chennai released water from a major reservoir, cleared fallen trees and readied relief centers as they evacuated people from low-lying areas.

Authorities have so far evacuated 528 people and 150 more relief shelters are being readied in the city, officials said.


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