More half a million have flown their homes as Cyclone Phailin hit the east Indian coast near Gopalpur, Orissa State Saturday afternoon. At least 12 million are in the path of the tempest which has already caused extensive damage. The Indian Meteorological Office said the cyclone would remain "very severe" for six hours before losing strength. The Indian authorities organized in advance to deal with the crisis. The army was placed on standby for emergency and relief operations. Helicopters and food packages were ready to be dropped in the storm-affected areas.