YANGON - A STRONG cyclone struck Myanmar's western coast on Friday, threatening to unleash flooding and landslides, authorities in the military-ruled country said.

Cyclone Giri, described as 'very strong', made landfall in Rakhine State, according to a weather warning broadcast on state television. People living along the affected coast were urged to move to safer areas.

The storm was packing winds of about 110 miles (177 kilometres) per hour at its centre, with gusts of up to 120 miles per hour, said the alert, issued by Myanmar's department of meteorology.

Sea water could rise by 12 feet (3.7 metres), it said.

The storm was expected to churn northeastwards towards the Chin, Magway and Mandalay areas, the news said, warning of a risk of landslides.

A local resident in Kyaukphyu town in Rakhine State said the cyclone was bringing rain and rising water levels. 'We're staying inside the house. So far we have not?t heard of any casualties,' she said.

Cyclone Giri hits Myanmar