Cyclone Tauktae lashes coastal Maharashtra

With Cyclone Tauktae pummelling Maharashtra’s coastal regions on Sunday, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has directed district administrations, especially in Raigad, Thane, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg, to ensure that there was no power outage in hospitals and Covid care centres. He also instructed them to make sure that there is uninterrupted oxygen supply for COVID-19 patients.

Though no loss to life was reported, strong winds damaged houses along the coastline, and cities and districts in western Maharashtra. During an online interaction, Mr. Thackeray apprised Union Home Minister Amit Shah of the precautions being taken in villages along the coastal areas of the State.

The Chief Minister assured the Home Minister that oxygen backup provision of 12 to 16 hours had been ensured in the districts expected to be the worst-hit, while several patients in jumbo COVID-19 facilities in Mumbai had already been shifted to other hospitals.

With the cyclonic storm fast approaching the Gujarat coast, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) on Sunday said all fishing boats, except 18 in Maharashtra and one in Gujarat, had reached their harbours or were anchored at the nearby ports.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the cyclone has intensified into a “very severe cyclonic storm” and is very likely to hit the Gujarat coast on Monday evening and cross it between Porbandar and Mahuva (in Bhavnagar district) on Tuesday morning.

“Pre-emptive measures in full swing for Maharashtra and Gujarat. Barring 18 boats from Maharashtra and one boat from Gujarat, all boats have either returned harbour or taken shelter in nearby ports,” the ICG said on Twitter.

The IMD said squally wind with speed reaching 40-50 kmph, gusting to 60 kmph is likely over the northeast Arabian Sea and along and off south Gujarat and Daman and Diu coasts from Sunday morning.

The Pune-based 5th battalion of the National Disaster Response Force has deployed four teams in Mumbai and Goa. It has also kept 14 more teams on standby, which can be mobilised at short notice.

Red alerts issued

Red alerts have been issued in Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri districts, which witnessed heavy rain and gusty winds, felling trees, damaging property and affecting commuting. Effects of the cyclonic storm were felt in rural areas of Pune district as well, with some damage to property reported in taluks like Khed, district authorities said. Several incidents of tree-fall were reported across Pune city.

Pune Mayor Murlidhar Mohol said the city’s Fire Department had registered 31 incidents of tree felling at various places due to strong winds and rain. “Fortunately, no injuries have been reported thus far. All officers have been alerted by the fire chief,” Mr. Mohol said.

Around 70 houses, two Aanganwadis, one primary school, and one Gram Panchayat building were damaged owing to the storm. Dr. Anupam Kashyapi of the Pune branch of the IMD said the district would be experiencing light to moderate rain (15.6-64.4 mm), with bouts of isolated heavy rain in the Ghat areas in the next 24 hours. These would be accompanied by gusty winds (of 30-40 km/hour), he said, warning of disruption in electrical services and traffic flow.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 8:55:15 AM |

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