Cyclone Tauktae to hit Gujarat on Tuesday morning; 4 dead in Karnataka

Cyclone Tauktae to hit Gujarat on Tuesday morning; 4 dead in Karnataka

In neighbouring Kerala, several parts have witnessed heavy downpour causing water levels to rise in many dams across the state

Cyclone | Indian weather | Gujarat

After sending a warning signal with heavy rain lashing India’s western coast, cyc­lo­ne Tauktae is expected to make a land­fall in Gujarat between Mahuva in Bhavnagar district and Porbandar early Tuesday morning with wind speeds surging past 175 km per hour.

According to the India Meteoro­logical Department (IMD) latest up­date, the “severe cyclone” is likely to cause maximum damage in Porbandar, Amreli, Junagadh, Gir Somnath, Botad, Bhavnagar and coastal areas of Ahmedabad in Gujarat. It also warned of destruction of houses, flooding of escape routes and disruption to rail services till May 21.

The cyclone, the first of 2021, threatens to compound challenges for state administrations that are dealing with a high case load of Covid-19 patients in the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

The IMD estimated wind speeds of 70-80 kmph gusting up to 90 kmph is also likely along and off south Maharashtra-Goa and adjoining Karnataka’s coasts, apart from 40-50 kmph winds going up to 60 kmph along and off north Maha­rashtra’s shores, on Sunday. It is likely to increase to 65-75 kmph, gusting up to 85 kmph along and off the north Maharashtra coast, from Monday till Tuesday morning.

The cyclone has already started taking its toll. It wreaked havoc in the coastal region surrounding the Malnad districts of Karnataka leading to four deaths since Friday night.

According to the Karnataka State Disaster Management Authority, till Sunday morning, 73 villages and 17 taluks in seven districts — Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Uttara Kannada, Kodagu, Shivamogga, Chikkamagaluru and Hassan — had been affected by the cyclone. The highest number of villages, 28, was hit in Udupi district. As many as 318 people had ­been evacuated, and 298 were taking shelter in 11 relief camps.

In neighbouring Kerala, several parts have witnessed heavy downpour causing water levels to rise in many dams across the state.

The IMD already issued orange alerts — indicating heavy to very heavy rain— on Sunday in Ernakulam, Idukki and Malappuram districts. The catchment areas of many dams in the central Kerala districts have reported heavy rains, prompting the authorities to sound alerts before closing their shutters.

At least 15 fishermen from Beypore Port in Kozhikode have gone missing, state officials said, while in Goa flights have been cancelled.

The central government is monitoring and reviewing the situation. Cabinet secretary Rajeev Gauba held a meeting with top officials of all the affected states on Sunday.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the situation in the states and assessed their prep­aredness. Home Minister Amit Shah too held a meeting with the affected states. The National Crisis Manage­ment Committee chaired a meeting with different states on Sunday and said that nearly 80 disaster management teams had been deployed.

Rescue and relief teams from the army, navy and coast guard along with ships and aircraft have also been deployed.

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has asked officials to ensure that electricity supply to Covid-19 hospitals and other medical facilities is not disrupted while oxygen supply is maintained.

Vaccinations have been suspended for the next two days.

The Maharashtra government has moved Covid-19 patients, who had been admitted to makeshift centres in Mumbai, to hospitals within the capital. In Gujarat, auth­orities at the largest govern­ment-run Kandla Port said steps had been taken to evacuate around 5,000 people from low-lying areas.

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