Cyclone Rakes Across Southern India; 6 Dead

Posted November 1st, 2012 at 6:35 am (UTC-5)
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At least six people are dead after Cyclone Nilam slammed into southern India this week, bringing heavy rains and storm surges that toppled homes and grounded an oil tanker.

Indian officials say the deaths were caused by drowning and trees and homes falling down. One crew member of the grounded tanker Pratibha Cauvery was reported dead.

At least four other people from the tanker's crew are missing, after the ship ran aground off Chennai. Thirty-two crew members were recovered alive, and rescuers are searching for the missing in helicopters and small vessels.

Nilam has weakened to a tropical storm after coming ashore Wednesday near Chennai, forcing thousands of people to evacuate.

India's Meteorological Department said Nilam made landfall at the coastal city of Mahabalipuram, south of Chennai, which is a popular tourist destination. About 4,000 people were evacuated from the area.

Local authorities have turned hundreds of schools into emergency relief centers.