A major cyclone packing ferocious winds and threatening a destructive storm surge bore down on India, disrupting the country’s response to its devastating Covid-19 outbreak.
At least six people died over the weekend in torrential rains and winds as Cyclone Tauktae, according to press reports the biggest to hit western India in 30 years, swept over the Arabian Sea with Gujarat state in its sights.
The “Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm” was due to make landfall between 8-11 pm with winds of 155-165 kilometers per hour gusting up to 185 kmph, the Indian Meteorological Department said.
It warned of storm surges of up to three metres high (10 feet) in some of Gujarat’s coastal districts.
The colossal swirling system visible from space exacerbated India’s dire problems dealing with a huge coronavirus surge that is killing at least 4,000 people every day and pushing hospitals to breaking point.
In waterlogged and windswept Mumbai, where authorities closed the airport for several hours and urged people to stay indoors, authorities on Sunday shifted 580 Covid patients “to safer locations” from three field hospitals.