Monster Cyclone Slams India, Sends Half A Million People Fleeing [PHOTOS]

A massive and powerful cyclone slammed into India’s east coast on Saturday, sending nearly half a million people seeking shelter.

Cyclone Phailin struck the eastern Indian states of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh shortly after 9 p.m. local time, the Guardian reports.

Up to 12 million people could be displaced by the storm, which is packing winds of over 130 mph and expected to cause an 11-foot surge in sea levels, according to the India Meteorological Department.

“This is one of the largest evacuations undertaken in India,” Shashidhar Reddy, the vice-chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority, told the Guardian.

A big wave smashes into a breakwater at a fishing harbor in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

Waves crash onto the shore at a fishing harbor.

A girl runs for shelter in heavy rain brought by Cyclone Phailin in Ichapuram, a town in Srikakulam district, in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

A man tries to avoid a broken electricity cable as he rides on an auto rickshaw to a safer place.

Men try to remove fallen trees from a road due to the rain and wind in the eastern Indian state of Odisha.

A man tries to cover himself with an umbrella during heavy rain brought by Cyclone Phailin.

Fishermen tie their boat along the shore before leaving for a safer place at Donkuru village in Srikakulam district, in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

A woman carries her belongings as she leaves her village and walks toward a safer place.

A woman carries her baby as she moves to a safer place with others at the village Donkuru.

A shepherd holds an umbrella as he stands on a highway with his flock in Srikakulam district.

An Indian villager braves strong winds and rain in village Podampeta, in Ganjam district, about 125 miles from the eastern Indian city Bhubaneswar.

An Indian rickshaw puller carries people to a cyclone shelter near Chatrapur in Ganjam district.

A high-tide wave hits the coastal area of Vishakhapatnam in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

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