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Cyclone kills 8

A severe cyclone damaged homes and blew down trees and power poles Thursday in eastern India, where eight people were killed and about 300,000 forced to move to higher ground.

Cyclone Titli, or Butterfly, had winds blowing up to 150 kilometres per hour (95 mph) when it came onshore, the India Meteorological Department said. It spread rain widely in coastal districts of Orissa state and also hit northern parts of neighbouring Andhra Pradesh state.

Eight people died from drowning, wall collapses and fallen trees in the Vijayanagaram and Srikakulam districts of Andhra Pradesh, said Kinjarapu Acchan Naidu, the state labour minister.

Schools were closed and air and train travel curtailed in the region. Authorities also set up more than 800 shelters stocked with food and relief materials.

Electricity and telephone services were cut in a number of areas in both states.

The cyclone was likely to weaken further and become a deep depression by Friday, the meteorological department said.

Orissa state is prone to cyclones which develop in the Bay of Bengal. In 1999, a devastating cyclone killed more than 15,000 people.

Bangladesh's coastal districts were also warned to prepare for possible storm effects there. Boats were ordered ashore and inland ferries were told to suspend services.



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