Cyclone Tauktae batters India’s western coast; at least 24 dead, almost 100 missing

Image credits: IndianNavy/Twitter

Adding to the woes of coronavirus-stricken country, Cyclone Tauktae battered western India on Monday leaving at least 24 dead and almost 100 missing.

Cyclone Tauktae hammered the Gujarat coast leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power.

According to officials, winds blowing at up to 130 kilometres per hour (80 miles per hour) speed smashed windows on the seafront and hit power lines as well as thousands of trees, blocking roads leading to affected areas.

The colossal swirling system is the latest in a growing number of increasingly violent storms in the Arabian Sea attributed to climate change.

“I have never experienced such intensity in my life,” a hotel owner in the town of Bhavnagar was quoted as saying by news agency AFP. “It was pitch dark as power was cut off and winds were making a roaring sound. It was scary.”

A support vessel operating oil rigs surrounded by eight-meter waves off Mumbai sank and 96 of the 273 people on board were missing, the Indian Navy said on Tuesday.

According to the Defense Ministry, 177 people were rescued and operations continued in in “extremely challenging sea conditions”. Two other barges and an oil rig were also in trouble.

Separately, four new deaths were reported on Tuesday, including a child and an 80-year-old woman, Gujarat Prime Minister Vijay Rupani said.

He further said that more than 16,500 houses were damaged, 40,000 trees were uprooted and 2,400 villages were without power.

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

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