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October 11, 2013 - Los Angeles, Calif. – With potentially catastrophic Cyclone Phailin approaching India’s east coast, International Medical Corps emergency teams are closely monitoring the storm, coordinating with partners and prepositioning supplies for a potential response.
The massive cyclone, which is expected to make landfall on Saturday, has winds gusting as high as 190 mph, and is equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane. It is one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the Indian Ocean.
Officials ordered at least 40,000 coastal villagers to flee their homes Friday, and authorities planned to take another 100,000 people to safer areas before the cyclone hits.
Phailin is likely to be the strongest tropical cyclone to affect India in 14 years. The storm reportedly is expected to hit in India's Orissa and Andhra Pradesh states. Indian authorities say 12 million people are at risk, and they are warning of extensive damage to old buildings and homes made of mud and bamboo. People in affected areas are also at risk from flying debris, as well as the flooding of escape routes.
International Medical Corps has been a first-responder to numerous natural disasters in southeast Asia, including the tsunami in Japan two years ago, the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan, and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
Since its inception nearly 30 years ago, International Medical Corps’ mission has been consistent: relieve the suffering of those impacted by war, natural disaster, and disease, by delivering vital health care services and sustainable development projects that focus on training. This approach of helping people help themselves is critical to returning hardest-hit populations to self-reliance. For more information visit: www.InternationalMedicalCorps.org. Also see us Facebook and follow us on Twitter.