Cyclone Tauktae destroys buildings, uproots trees and electricity pylons, uproots cables, and causes flooding.
A powerful cyclone has hit the west coast of India and landed in Gujarat after authorities evacuated hundreds of thousands of people.
Nicknamed “extremely severe cyclonic storm” by the Indian Meteorological Department, the cyclone, called Tauktae, carried wind speeds of 160 to 170 kilometers per hour (99.4 -105.6 miles per hour) with gusts of up to 190 km / h (118 mph), storm surge and heavy rainfall.
The cyclone destroyed buildings, uprooted trees and electric pylons, broke cables and caused flooding and flooding in Gujarat, Maharashtra and the neighboring territories of Daman and Diu.
The Indian Meteorological Department said it would take up to three hours to complete the landing on the coast of Gujarat.
India’s military and navy were awaiting relief and rescue operations, along with the National Disaster Response Force, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said during a briefing.
Rupani said he was monitoring the situation with senior officials. The extent of the damage to the four affected districts would be clear in the morning, he said.
Gujarat ports and airports were closed and more than 150,000 people were evacuated from the coastal belts of the Saurashtra and Kutch region to temporary security shelters.
The international airport of the financial center of India, Mumbai, was closed all day. More than 50 flights were canceled.
National Disaster Response Force teams and regional labor agents worked 24 hours a day to restore energy supplies and remove trees from roads and key transportation arteries, including highways, along the roads. which are transporting oxygen supplies for COVID-19 patients from Gujarat ports.
Officials said electrical backups such as diesel generators had been installed.
At least 14 people have been killed so far in storm-related incidents, six of them in the Konkan coastal belt in Maharashtra, regional officials said. The toll is expected to increase.
Tauktae is named after a particularly strong Burmese gecko. The impact of the cyclone was expected to continue for at least 12 hours after the landslide.
The cyclone began to form over the Arabian Sea more than three days ago and has wreaked havoc on the west coast of India, in the states of Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and finally Gujarat.
Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from the coastal belts of all states and housed in temporary shelters, despite fears of a new spread of COVID-19 in a country that is breaking out of a second deadly wave of the pandemic .
“This cyclone is a terrible double blow to millions of people in India whose families have been hit by infections and deaths by COVID record. Many families are barely afloat,” said Udaya Regmi, head of the delegation of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in South Asia.
The potential impact of the “monster storm” was terrifying, Regmi said.
According to the statement, the Indian Red Cross emergency response teams were working with local authorities on evacuation and relief.
The west coast of India is no stranger to devastating cyclones, but climate change has caused them to be more intense than more frequent.
In May 2020, nearly 100 people died when Cyclone Amphan, the most powerful storm to hit eastern India in more than a decade, ravaged the region and left millions without electricity.