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India's president expresses condolences for cyclone victims

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 5:30 AM EST, Mon January 2, 2012
An Indian bystander looks at strong waves due to gusty winds in the wake of severe cyclonic storm 'Thane' at Marina Beach in Chennai on December 30, 2011.
An Indian bystander looks at strong waves due to gusty winds in the wake of severe cyclonic storm 'Thane' at Marina Beach in Chennai on December 30, 2011.
  • Pratibha Devisingh Patil offers condolences to "bereaved families" of 27 killed by storm
  • She also wishes a "speedy recovery" to those injured by Cyclone Thane
  • Electrocution was to blame for some of the deaths, an official said

(CNN) -- India's president expressed her condolences Sunday for those killed by a devastating cyclone that has forced thousands to seek refuge in emergency shelters.

The death toll along India's southeastern coastline stood at 27 as of Sunday, according to officials. This was two days after Cyclone Thane brought heavy rains and winds gusting at almost 90 miles per hour at its peak to the area.

Pratibha Devisingh Patil reached out to some of those affected by the storm in the states of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, according to a statement posted on her website.

"The president has conveyed her condolences to the members of bereaved families and wished speedy recovery to the injured persons," her office said.

The Tamil Nadu district of Cuddalore, south of the city of Chennai, was hit particularly hard. The storm uprooted trees, ripped off traffic signals from their posts and sent shards of glass and other debris whizzing through the air.

Amuthavalli, the district's top official who goes by a single name, told CNN that some people lost their lives when walls collapsed or downed power lines caused electrocution.

Some 7,000 people are staying in emergency shelters set up in school buildings, community halls and 20 cyclone centers in the Cuddalore area, she said.

One of those killed was a French national, the French Foreign Ministry said Saturday.

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