An ‘extremely severe cyclonic storm’ with 125mph gusts of wind has sparked a massive evacuation of nearly 800,000 people from India’s east coast, amid warnings that it could be the worst cyclone in two decades.

Cyclone Fani is expected to make landfall on Friday afternoon near Puri, which is likely to bear the brunt of the storm. The India Meteorological Department is warning of sustained wind speeds of 105-112mph.

ALSO ON RT.COMPepsi to drop cases against Indian farmers accused of infringing potato patentMillions of people live where the cyclone is expected to hit. 780,000 were evacuated overnight. Some 1,000 shelters have been set up in schools and government buildings.

An ‘Orange Alert’ has been issued in the states of Odisha and West Bengal, as well parts of Andhra Pradesh. The cyclone could damage crops, homes, communication infrastructure and cause flooding.

The National Disaster Management Authority has shared safety guidelines warning people to stay indoors if their homes are safe.

The India Meteorological Department said Cyclone Fani was over the West-central Bay of Bengal and moving north-north-eastwards at a speed of about 9mph on Thursday afternoon.

In 2017, Cyclone Ockhi killed more than 200 people and displaced hundreds on India’s east coast.