100 million people are in the path of a cyclone heading towards India’s east coast, a cyclone that could be the worst India has faced in the last five years.
Officials have begun evacuating cities and neighborhoods in anticipation of the cyclone’s landfall, which is expected to hit India on Friday.
The tropical cyclone, named Fani, exhibited winds of 130 mph and gusts of 160 mph on Thursday, qualifying it as a Category 4 storm.
Though the cyclone has not landed yet, the wind generated by it have already affected the state of Andhra Pradesh and is expected to impact coastal cities in the state of Odisha as well.
The Indian Navy and Coast Guard have begun preparations for the storm’s aftermath by deploying ships and helicopters to be used for search and rescue purposes, as well as delivering supplies to people in need. The Indian Army and Air Force are also preparing for the storm by placing several squads on standby in the states that are expected to be hit the worst by the tropical cyclone.
Nearly 900 shelters have been set up for people who have evacuated their homes ahead of the storm’s landfall, while teams from the National Disaster Response Force have been going door to door warning families of the danger of remaining at home and encouraging them to evacuate.
Fisherman have been urged to stay out of the ocean until it has been determined safe to sail.