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  • Declared a Category 4 hurricane, Cyclone Fani barrelled into Odisha, India Friday with winds at approximately 250 km per hour.

    Declared a Category 4 hurricane, Cyclone Fani barrelled into Odisha, India Friday with winds at approximately 250 km per hour. | Photo: Reuters

Published 4 May 2019

Thousands were spared by the timely evacuation and reports of the incoming storm, state officials said.

Cyclone Fani killed over a dozen people and destroyed thousands of homes this weekend after moving on from India’s eastern coastal states of Odisha and West Bengal and crashing into Bhola, Bangladesh.

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“The fear of a major disaster is mostly over as (Fani) has weakened,” said Shamsuddin Ahmed, director of the Bangladesh Meteorological Department.

Thousands were spared by the timely evacuation and reports of the incoming storm, which, by Friday, had been downgraded to a “depression” by the India Meteorological Department.

As cyclone Fani approached, Odisha moved 1.2 million people to safety in 24 hours, which Patnaik described as “one of the biggest human evacuations in history.”

Shelters were set up in schools and other safe buildings to accommodate the evacuees, who included scores of tourists.

More than 100,000 government officials, 45,000 volunteers, and 2,000 civil society groups were mobilized, and 9,000 shelters and 7,000 kitchens pressed into service, Patnaik said.

“Instead of it being a tragedy of humongous proportions, we are in the process of restoring critical infrastructure,” Ashok Patnaik, director of Capital Hospital, one of the largest state-run hospitals in Bhubaneswar, told Reuters.

All together, at least 17 people were killed in both Bangladesh and India combined, nearly 200 injured and over a 1,000 homes severely damaged, Bangladeshi authorities and India media outlets reported.

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