INDIA. Mumbai: At least eight people died, over 500 houses were damaged, hundreds of trees were uprooted and roads were blocked as gale-force winds, heavy rainfall, and high tidal waves swept the coastal belt of Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, and Maharashtra, as Cyclone Tauktae hurtled northwards towards Gujarat, forcing evacuation in low-lying areas on Sunday.
“Two deaths have been reported in Goa. More than 500 trees have fallen. Around 100 major houses and 100 minor houses were damaged. Roads are blocked. The power supply is disrupted”, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant tweeted. “Two people lost their lives because of the cyclone. A woman of around 30-35 years died after a coconut tree fell on her at Mapusa town (in North Goa). Another accident occurred at Marcel where two youth were going on a scooter and an electric pole fell on them and one of them lost his life while he was being rushed to hospital,” Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said.
Similarly, four deaths were reported from Karnataka’s Uttara Kannada, Udupi, Chikkamagaluru, and Shivamogga districts, in cyclone-related incidents.
Two teenage sisters- Jyoti Barela(16) and Roshani Barela(10) were crushed to death when a tree fell on their hut located at Anchalwadi in Amalner(Jalgaon district) in north Maharashtra on Sunday afternoon.
A roof of the primary health centre located at Talwade in the Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra was blown off due to gusty winds. Nearly 6000 people in Raigad, 3896 people in Ratnagiri, and 144 people in Sindhudurg were evacuated and shifted to a safer place, District Disaster Management Department officials said. SMS blaster service was also pressed in to inform people about probable disaster and measures taken by the Raigad collectorate.
In Sindhudurg 447 houses, 3 schools, 37 cattle sheds, and 10 other sheds, including a cemetery, were damaged. 143 trees were uprooted, 23 electric poles collapsed and two electric cables were snapped disrupting the electricity supply. Besides 14 government premises were damaged due to strong winds coupled with rainfall, Sindhudurg Deputy Collector Subhangi Sathe told the “Transcontinental Times”. The maximum loss was reported from Vaibhavwadi taluka.
Cyclone Tauktae has intensified into a “very severe cyclonic storm”. It is very likely to reach the Gujarat coast in the evening hours of May 17 and cross it between Porbandar and Mahuva around May 18 early morning, the India Meteorological Department said. The wind speed is expected to be 155 to 165 km.
An estimated 1.5 lakh people are being shifted from low-lying coastal areas in Gujarat while 54 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) have been deployed in the state.
In the meanwhile Union Home Minister Amit Shah held a review meeting with the Chief Ministers of Gujarat, Maharashtra & Administrator of Daman & Diu, and Dadra Nagar Haveli, to assess the preparedness of States/ UT & Central Ministries/ Agencies concerned, to deal with the situation arising out of Cyclone Tauktae, Sunday evening.