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Cyclone Burevi slams into eastern Sri Lanka


Authorities had evacuated more than 75,000 people from the country’s east coast ahead of the cyclone that is projected to unleash flash floods.

Tropical Cyclone Burevi slammed into Sri Lanka’s eastern coast on Wednesday night and was expected to damage coastal buildings and power lines, as well as unleash flash floods, officials at the meteorological department said.

During the day Sri Lankan authorities evacuated more than 75,000 people from homes on the east coast where Cyclone Burevi, packing winds of up to 90 kilometres per hour (56 miles per hour) was set to hit.

The island’s disaster management centre advised those living near its path to stay indoors.

Earlier in the day Athula Karunanayake, the chief of the meteorology department said the wind speeds could reach 80 to 90 kph (50 to 56 mph).

“Some areas will get more than 200 millimetres (8 inches) of rain.”

Those evacuated, from the Trincomalee district expected to be hit the hardest, have been moved into 237 relief centres until the cyclone passes, disaster officials said.

Schools in the northern and eastern provinces, home to millions of people, have been shut until at least Friday [Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP]

But Anuradha Yahampath, governor of the eastern province which includes Trincomalee, said some people were still resisting the evacuation effort.

“I am appealing to people to go to these camps as soon as possible,” he told local media.

“I met some of the fishermen earlier. They are aware of the situation but they are still not ready to leave their homes.”

Schools in the northern and eastern provinces, home to millions of people, have been shut until at least Friday.

By Thursday, the cyclone’s path will carry it northwest towards the Arabian Sea, Karunanayake said.

Burevi is projected to move into southern India by early on Friday, Indian weather officials have said but is expected to cause less damage there.

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