Thousands Evacuate as Cyclone Threatens India

Thousands Evacuate as Cyclone Threatens India

Jacob Nguyen

Tens of thousands of individuals have been evacuated from western areas in India due to an expected cyclone making landfall. Cyclone Tauktae, which formed in the Arabian Sea, is moving north along India’s western coast, an area already suffering due to the second Coronavirus wave.  

The storm will be bringing in damaging winds, heavy rain and storm surges to the state of Gujarat. The storm will be moving at maximum sustained wind speeds of 205 kilometers per hour (127mph). This is the equivalent of a category three Atlantic hurricane, barely shy of the category four hurricane that starts at 205 kilometers per hour (130mph). It will be the first named cyclone of the year in the region, striking at the worst possible time in the epicenter of the Coronavirus pandemic. 

At least two people died in the southern state, Goa, due to a storm that resulted in heavy rainfall. In the state of Karnataka, four people died followed by 253 people seeking shelter in relief camps. A total of 216 houses were damaged by the storm. In the Kerala state, several districts have been put on red for extremely severe winds and heavy rainfall that damaged houses, knocked down trees, cut power lines and brought floods.

Due to the unexpected cyclone, vaccinations were temporarily suspended across Gujarat. The state’s chief prime minister, Vijay Rupani, has asked officials to ensure electricity supplies to Covid-19 hospitals and to make sure the supply of oxygen is maintained. 

Indian authorities have now sent out multiple evacuation operations, even as the Coronavirus continues to complicate the emergency response.