Thousands evacuated on Indian coast as Cyclone Vayu sweeps in

13 June 2019, 10:40 | Updated: 13 June 2019, 12:28

Almost 300,000 people have been evacuated after a cyclone in the Arabian Sea battered an Indian fishing hub.

Cyclone Vayu, the season's second major storm, has moved west, skirting the coast of Gujarat.

Officials took precautions after Cyclone Fani hit India's eastern coast in May, killing 34 people in India and 15 in neighbouring Bangladesh.

Vayu, named after the Hindi word for wind, is not likely to be as severe as Fani and unlikely to make landfall but it could leave dangerous conditions in its wake, Indian authorities warned.

Sathi Devi, the government scientist in charge of monitoring the storm, said Vayu will bring winds of up to 93mph before turning sharply westward into open water.

Beaches in the fishing hub Veraval have already been battered by heavy wind and rain.

Huge waves damaged fishing boats and local police have made a last-minute appeal to hut dwellers to leave their homes.

In the coastal city of Porbandar, rescue workers, including 50 teams from the National Disaster Relief Force and around 1,000 Indian navy and army personnel, have been moving people to school buildings and other evacuation sites.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has warned of rough seas and dangerous heat, though the cyclone is not expected to directly hit the port city of Karachi.

Hemendra Khatma, assistant force commander of Pakistan's meteorological department, said: "We expect the high winds to remain until tomorrow morning and some disturbances to remain until around Saturday or Sunday."

He warned fishermen to stay inland this week as the cyclone could cause rough sea conditions.

Forecasters say a heatwave is likely to hit Karachi on Thursday and Friday because the cyclone could stifle sea breeze, with temperatures rising to 42C (108F).