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Last Updated: Friday, 28 October 2005, 12:46 GMT 13:46 UK
Indians flee approaching cyclone
Cars lying submerged in floodwater following heavy rains in Tamil Nadu
More than 50,000 people have fled homes in Tamil Nadu
Thousands of people in low-lying areas along the south-east Indian coast have been evacuated ahead of a cyclone that is expected to make landfall on Friday.

Winds of 70-100km/h (45-60mph) and heavy rains are already severely disrupting life in the area.

Air and rail transport has been badly affected. Fishermen have been warned not to go to sea until Sunday.

More than 100 people have died in several days of rain in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh states.

High winds and heavy rains are hampering our evacuations
B Udaya Lakshmi
Andhra Pradesh official

India's technology hub, Bangalore, is battling floods after three major lakes breached their banks.

The city accounts for one-third of India's annual export revenue of $17.2bn in software and back-office outsourcing.


The cyclone, triggered by a depression in the Bay of Bengal, is expected to hit somewhere along the coast of Andhra Pradesh state.

"High winds and heavy rains are hampering our evacuations," B Udaya Lakshmi, an official in Andhra Pradesh, told Reuters.

Rain and landslides have cut links to some coastal areas.

Traffic has come to a halt on the national highway linking Madras (Chennai) to Vishakhapatnam and Calcutta after the road was washed away in many places.

One part of Andhra Pradesh recorded 21cm of rain during the last 24 hours.

In Tamil Nadu, schools and colleges have been shut and many state-run schools converted into temporary shelters.

Several trains passing through the state capital, Madras, have been cancelled because rail tracks are under water.

Tens of thousands of people have been stranded at railway stations and airports across the region and the weather has hit the travel plans of many more during the holiday season which coincides with the Hindu festival of light, or Diwali.

In the past few days, more than 65,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in affected areas of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

Heavy rains in the neighbouring state of Karnataka have led to the flooding of the Cauvery river, which flows into Tamil Nadu.

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