Super cyclone brings heavy rain, tidal waves to eastern India

Heavy rains and winds lashed two eastern Indian states on Wednesday (May 20), just hours before a powerful cyclone made landfall.

Rescue teams evacuated millions of villagers to higher ground in an operation complicated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The weather department in India said Cyclone Amphan was likely to weaken into an extreme severe cyclonic storm and cross the coast near West Bengal state or Bangladesh.

Indian officials said the affected states were struggling to house thousands of evacuees as existing shelters were being used as coronavirus quarantine centers.

Extra shelters were being prepared in wholesale markets and government buildings -- with allowances made for social distancing.

Masks and scarves were also distributed among affected villagers.

Police in West Bengal said people were unwilling to go to shelters for fear of contracting COVID-19