Cyclone Burevi to make landfall in Sri Lanka later today; India issues red alert, bans fishing till Friday

The cyclonic storm will pack gusts of up to 100 kms an hour when it makes landfall late in Sri Lanka before moving west and hitting India around 24 hours later, forecasters said

Agence France-Presse December 02, 2020 17:17:20 IST
Cyclone Burevi to make landfall in Sri Lanka later today; India issues red alert, bans fishing till Friday

Residents prepare sand bags to protect their homes ahead of cyclone Burevi's landfall in Sri Lanka. AFP

Sri Lanka and southern India battened down the hatches for the second time in a week on Wednesday ahead of the scheduled arrival of another cyclone from the Bay of Bengal.

Burevi will pack gusts of up to 100 kilometres (60 miles) an hour when it makes landfall late on Wednesday in Sri Lanka before moving west and hitting India around 24 hours later, forecasters said.

Warning of a storm surge of a metre, and 20 centimetres (8 inches) of rain in places, Sri Lanka ordered a three-day closure of schools in the north and east and told fishermen to stay on land.

India's National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) said late Tuesday it had deployed 26 teams across the southern states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

"Ready for cyclone," tweeted the NDRF director-general on Wednesday.

The Indian Meteorological Department issued a red alert in several areas across both states and suspended fishing activity in some areas until Friday.

Last Thursday, a more powerful cyclone skirted northern Sri Lanka but hit Tamil Nadu with full force, uprooting trees and delivering 30 centimetres (12 inches) of rain in some areas.

But more accurate forecasting and the timely evacuation of several hundred thousand people were credited with keeping the number of people reported killed to three, a fraction of the death tolls in previous years.

Seven people were killed and some 20,000 lost their homes three years ago in Sri Lanka's northeast following a similar cyclone during the monsoon season.

Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh depend on the monsoon for power generation as well as irrigation, but excessive downpours and storms cause casualties and destroy property almost every year.

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