The strongest cyclone to hit India in the last five years has devastated India’s eastern coast, killing approximately 16 people in the state of Odisha before hitting Bangladesh where at least 12 people have died.
A mass evacuation of over a million people in Bangladesh has saved a great number of lives. A similar evacuation occurred in Odisha moving 1.2 million people into safety. West Bangladesh avoided substantial damage but authorities had moved nearly 45,000 people to safer locations as a precaution.
Reports state that Cyclone Fani had winds moving at up 200km an hour with enough strength to knock down power lines, and cut off water and telecommunications.
Odisha was the worst hit area with the majority of deaths resulting from falling trees.
After making landfall on Friday, the cyclone lost some power and was downgraded by the Indian Meteorological Department to a “Deep Depression” as it moved across Bangladesh.
An official from Bangladesh’s disaster ministry stated that dozens of villages in Bangladesh's low-lying coast were submerged and the seaside temple town of Puri in India was also ravaged by the cyclone.
Al Jazeera reports that shelters were set up in schools and other buildings to offer a sanctuary to evacuees, which included scores of tourists.
In 1999 a super cyclone hit Odisha for 30 hours killing over 10,000 people. Advances in technology have enabled authorities to better forecast these types of disasters and plan mass evacuations.