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ORISSA CYCLONE
Orissa Cyclone
Map
Orissa Cyclone, India

Date: 29 October, 1999
Dead: 10,000+
Affected: 12m
Damage: $2.5bn, 774,000 houses destroyed, 1m animals lost.

What happened: The super cyclone, which smashed into the eastern state with winds of up to 170mph, wiped out everything in its path. Even the vultures disappeared.

Response: Although the cyclone had been spotted in advance, it took three days for relief efforts to begin. Five days after the storm, the co-ordination centre consisted of six workers, two telephones and a fax machine. India turned down a United Nations offer for an international fund-raiser, but countries including the US, Britain, Canada and Germany sent donations. About $20.8m had been pledged by March.

Verdict: The government relief operation was accused of being slow, badly co-ordinated and poorly funded. As of April, the government had still not released $200m in aid promised for the region.

Media coverage: Despite the scale of the disaster, it did not make the front of any UK paper. One headline, in Londonís Evening Standard, highlighted the lack of response: Thousands dead in India - not many interested.