​Cyclone Phailin hits millions; 23 dead, lakhs of homes damaged

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As meteorologists warned last week of a monster storm ploughing towards India's east coast, the country's disaster preparedness teams snapped into action, pre-positioning emergency response teams and supplies, and evacuating nearly a million people - ultimately saving countless lives. The impressive show of disaster preparedness is thanks in large part to the lessons learnt after a powerful cyclone hit the country and killed 10,000 people in 1999, and the plans implemented in the years since, say aid workers and disaster experts. "Credit is due to those who have been involved in efforts to reduce the scale of vulnerability to disasters across India," said Tom Mitchell, head of climate change at the Overseas Development Institute in London. "The low loss of life, following the strongest storm ever measured in the Bay of Bengal, would almost certainly not have been possible without learning lessons from previous cyclones and tsunamis that have hit this coastline." Cyclone Phailin, India's fiercest storm in 14 years, smashed into the coastline of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha states over the weekend, flooded swathes of farmland and ripped apart tens of thousands of mud-and-thatch homes.

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