(BBC) – A powerful cyclone has torn into eastern India, with reports suggesting it has killed several people.
Cyclone Yaas, which intensified into a “very severe cyclonic storm”, hit the states of West Bengal and Orissa – also known as Odisha – on Wednesday, as well as lashing southern Bangladesh.
This is the second cyclone to hit the country in a week, after Cyclone Tauktae killed more than 150 people.
It comes as India is already struggling to deal with its Covid-19 outbreak.
Yaas lashed coastal areas with ferocious wind and rain as it made landfall in India, damaging homes and bringing waves that swamped towns. More than one million people were evacuated in the country as the storm approached.
In its latest update, the India Meteorological Department tweeted that the cyclone had sustained winds of 70-80km/h (43-50mph) and with gusts of up to 90km/h. It said the storm is “likely to move further northwestwards and weaken gradually” in the next three hours.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said some 20,000 homes were damaged in the state, with the town of Digha “swamped” by four-metre-high (13ft) waves. One person was killed there after being dragged out to sea while another died after their home collapsed, she reportedly said.
In Orissa, there are reports that two people were killed by uprooted trees. A relief official said they were investigating the incidents.
Nearly 1,200 rescue shelters have been sanitised in line with Covid-19 safety norms, and health teams have been deployed there – but there are worries that it will be difficult to maintain social distancing protocols as more than a million people are evacuated to shelters, according to news agency ANI.