20 Heartbreaking Images Of Cyclone Phailin’s Destruction In India

India’s strongest storm in more than a decade left a trail of destruction along the country’s east coast over the weekend. In advance of the cyclone, close to a million people were evacuated, saving many lives. posted on

Adnan Abidi / Reuters

A man cycles through a field submerged in water after Cyclone Phailin hit Brahmapur town in Ganjam district in the eastern Indian state of Odisha October 13, 2013.

After making landfall Saturday from the Bay of Bengal with sustained winds of up 131 miles per hour, Cyclone Phailin destroyed agriculture fields, turned over trucks, and downed communication lines, but authorities said they knew of only 17 fatalities. The final death toll is expected to climb as officials reach areas of the east coast that remain isolated, but the evacuation of about a million people seems to have saved many lives.

Because of it’s warm waters, the Indian Ocean produces many cyclones, including 27 of the 35 deadliest storms in recorded history that have come through the Bay of Bengal and landed in either India or Bangladesh. In 1999, a cyclone struck Orissa, roughly the same place as where Cyclone Phailin hit, killing more than 10,000 people.

India’s response to Cyclone Phalin’s shows a significant change, which is due in large part to vastly improved communications throughout the country. Nearly a billion people routinely use mobile phones in India, up from fewer than 40 million in the early 2000s, reports the New York Times. Also India’s news media market is saturated with 24-hour news channels that have coverage of the storm, and most communities now have televisions.

Adnan Abidi / Reuters

Men cover their faces against strong winds after Cyclone Phailin hit Gopalpur village in Ganjam district in the eastern Indian state of Odisha October 13, 2013.

Adnan Abidi / Reuters

Boats are submerged in sand after Cyclone Phailin hit Gopalpur village in Ganjam district in the eastern Indian state of Odisha October 13, 2013.

Ahmad Masood / Reuters

A man rides his motorbike past an overturned vehicle after Cyclone Phailin hit Gopalpur in Ganjam district in the eastern Indian state of Odisha October 13, 2013.

Ahmad Masood / Reuters

People carry their belongings outside a partially damaged house after Cyclone Phailin hit Gopalpur in Ganjam district in the eastern Indian state of Odisha October 13, 2013.

Ahmad Masood / Reuters

Residents stand outside their partially damaged house after Cyclone Phailin hit Gopalpur in Ganjam district in the eastern Indian state of Odisha October 13, 2013.

Ahmad Masood / Reuters

A damaged idol of a Hindu deity is seen at a demolished marquee after Cyclone Phailin hit Gopalpur in Ganjam district in the eastern Indian state of Odisha October 13, 2013.

Ahmad Masood / Reuters

Residents wade through a flooded road after Cyclone Phailin hit Gopalpur in Ganjam district in the eastern Indian state of Odisha October 13, 2013.

Ahmad Masood / Reuters

Hindu priests assess the damage to a temple after Cyclone Phailin hit Gopalpur in Ganjam district in the eastern Indian state of Odisha October 13, 2013.

Ahmad Masood / Reuters

A woman stands outside her damaged house after Cyclone Phailin hit Gopalpur in Ganjam district in the eastern Indian state of Odisha October 13, 2013.

Ahmad Masood / Reuters

A woman carries a tree branch as she walks past a damaged marquee after Cyclone Phailin hit Gopalpur in Ganjam district in the eastern Indian state of Odisha October 13, 2013.

Adnan Abidi / Reuters

A man and his son fix their overturned boat after Cyclone Phailin hit Gopalpur village in Ganjam district in the eastern Indian state of Odisha October 13, 2013.

Adnan Abidi / Reuters

A boy stands on the roof of his home after Cyclone Phailin hit Brahmapur town in Ganjam district in the eastern Indian state of Odisha October 13, 2013.

Adnan Abidi / Reuters

A truck is seen submerged in the water after Cyclone Phailin hit Brahmapur town in Ganjam district in the eastern Indian state of Odisha October 13, 2013.

Adnan Abidi / Reuters

A boy cycles past debris after Cyclone Phailin hit Rangailunda village in Ganjam district in the eastern Indian state of Odisha October 13, 2013.

AFP/AFP / Getty Images

A villager tends to her sleeping child resting on the damaged roof of a beachside hut after Cyclone Phailin made landfall at Padampeta Village, about 200 kilometers south from the eastern Indian city of Bhubaneswar, on October 13, 2013.

AFP/AFP / Getty Images

A villager attempts to repair his beachside hut after Cyclone Phailin made landfall at Padampeta Village on October 13, 2013. For the people living along the coast, many of whom live as subsistence farmers in mud-and-thatch huts, the economic toll will be immense.

AFP/AFP / Getty Images

A mangled electrical transmission tower is pictured after Cyclone Phailin made landfall in Berhampur, about 180 kilometers south from the eastern Indian city of Bhubaneswar, on October 13, 2013.

AFP/AFP / Getty Images

Damaged huts and lashed boats are pictured after Cyclone Phailin made landfall at Padampeta Village, about 200 kilometers south from the eastern Indian city of Bhubaneswar, on October 13, 2013.

AFP/AFP / Getty Images

A villager sorts belongongs over a beached fishing boat after Cyclone Phailin made landfall at Padampeta Village, about 200 kilometers south from the eastern Indian city of Bhubaneswar, on October 13, 2013. A massive relief operation kicked into gear in eastern India Sunday after a terrifying cyclone killed at least 17 people, and forced one million from their homes and left a trail of destruction along the coast.

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