Cyclone leaves 27 dead, 100 missing in India

Published May 19, 2021
MUMBAI: A damaged vehicle is seen under a fallen tree on a road after gusty winds caused by Cyclone Tauktae on Tuesday.—Reuters
MUMBAI: A damaged vehicle is seen under a fallen tree on a road after gusty winds caused by Cyclone Tauktae on Tuesday.—Reuters

MAHUVA: At least 27 people died and almost 100 were missing on Tuesday after a monster cyclone slammed India, compounding the country’s woes as it recorded a new record number of coronavirus deaths in 24 hours.

The colossal swirling system dubbed Cyclone Tauktae is the latest in what experts say is a growing number of increasingly severe storms in the Arabian Sea as climate change warms its waters.

Hundreds of thousands of people were left without power after the storm hit the Gujarat coast in western India on Monday evening, leaving a trail of death and destruction.

Winds up to 130km per hour smashed seafront windows and knocked over power lines and thousands of trees, blocking roads leading to affected areas, officials said.

“I have never experienced such intensity in my life,” a hotel owner in the town of Bhavnagar said.

“It was pitch dark as power was cut off and winds were making a roaring sound. It was scary.” One support vessel serving oil rigs that were walloped by eight-metre waves off Mumbai sank and 96 of the 273 people who had been on board were missing, the Indian Navy said on Tuesday.

The defence ministry said 177 people were rescued, with warships attempting to save the rest of the crew in “extremely challenging sea conditions”.

Navy helicopters managed, however, to rescue all 137 people stuck on another barge that also slipped its anchor and ran aground. One other barge and an oil rig were also adrift.

Elsewhere, seven fresh casualties took the toll to 27 including a child crushed by a collapsing wall, an 80-year-old woman killed by a falling pole and a teenage girl by a crumbling roof.

More than 16,500 houses were damaged, 40,000 trees were uprooted and 2,400 villages were without power.

“Since the cyclone made landfall we have not had power or communications,” local official Aayush Oak told AFP by phone from the coastal district of Amreli, where 40-50 mobile phone towers were damaged.

Although the cyclone was one of the fiercest in decades, better forecasting than in previous disasters meant that 200,000 people in danger zones were evacuated from their homes.

“Our planning over the last three days has paid off. We have managed to minimise human casualties,” said Gujarat state chief minister Vijay Rupani.

The cyclone barrelled inland, weakening slightly but still bringing heavy rains and gale-force winds. Forecasters said it would ease into a deep depression during the next six hours.

Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2021

Opinion

Gaming LNG
Updated 05 Aug 2021

Gaming LNG

What looked like rank incompetence about a year ago is now beginning to smack of malfeasance.
Healing the spirit
05 Aug 2021

Healing the spirit

ROC medal winners could not hear their national anthem being played.
Returning to a repressive order
Updated 04 Aug 2021

Returning to a repressive order

There is no sign of the Taliban showing any flexibility in their position and taking a more moderate stance.

Editorial

A tragic anniversary
Updated 05 Aug 2021

A tragic anniversary

Attempts to change IOK's demography should end and India must open channels with the genuine Kashmiri leadership.
05 Aug 2021

Currency pressure

THE increasing demand for dollars in the wake of surging imports and debt repayments has put significant pressure on...
05 Aug 2021

Protecting breastfeeding

A LOT has been said about the fact that 40pc of children under five years in Pakistan are stunted. The reasons...
PML-N’s dilemma
Updated 04 Aug 2021

PML-N’s dilemma

The road ahead for the PML-N is going to be long and bumpy no matter which narrative it follows.
04 Aug 2021

Attacks on cops

AMIDST cautious optimism that Pakistan may be finally beginning to achieve success in bringing the number of polio...
04 Aug 2021

Myanmar about-face

SIX months into the coup that sent Myanmar’s hybrid civ-mil government packing, the generals have made their...