At least seven people were killed as tropical cyclone Phailin, accompanied by heavy rain and strong winds, swept coastal Odisha Saturday night, according to official sources here Sunday.
Majority of the deaths occurred ahead of the cyclone making landfall as trees uprooted due to strong winds fell on the people. Heavy winds uprooted hundreds of trees in the entire coastal belt of Odisha, including the state capital Bhubaneswar.
Cyclonic storm Phailin Saturday night slammed India's east coast near Gopalpur in Odisha, triggering heavy rains and strong winds with speed reaching up to 200 km an hour.
Southern Odisha bore the brunt of the devastation as large swathes of low-lying areas were submerged and heavy rain lashed the region for several hours, resulting in flooding in the region.
Rain water swamped houses located in the low-lying areas. The strong wind also blew away thatched houses.
The administration had evacuated more than half a million people from the low-lying areas of the state, especially those who were staying in "kaccha" or mud houses.
"We could manage to save human lives, because the people were evacuated beforehand," Surya Narayan Patro, Odisha's revenue and disaster management minister, told IANS.
"It is certain that there has been severe damage to property which we are in the process of evaluating," the minister added.