Cyclone Laila Batters South Indian Coast with Heavy Rains and Winds

Cyclone Laila slammed into the south Indian coast on Thursday, battering the region with heavy rains and winds up to 90 kilometers (55 miles) per hour, and uprooting trees and electric lines, officials said. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K. Rosaiah said that the cyclone appeared to be weakening, though it still could cause widespread damage. The state had evacuated more than 50,000 people as it braced for its worst storm in 14 years.

Heavy rains and strong winds killed at least 15 people over the past 24 hours, including four workers when an industrial workshop collapsed because of heavy rain, authorities said. At least 55 fishermen were reported missing, The Associated Press informs.

India and Bangladesh are hit regularly by cyclones that develop in the Bay of Bengal between April and November, causing widespread damage to homes and fields.

Last May, Cyclone Aila tore through southern Bangladesh killing 300 people and destroyed 4,000 kilometres of roads and river embankments, leading to major flooding, AFP says.

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