At least 27 people were dead and almost 100 missing yesterday after a monster cyclone slammed India, compounding the country’s woes as it recorded a new record number of coronavirus deaths in 24 hours.
The colossal swirling system dubbed Cyclone Tauktae is the latest in what experts say is a growing number of increasingly severe storms in the Arabian Sea as climate change warms its waters.
Hundreds of thousands of people were left without power after the storm hit the Gujarat coast in western India on Monday evening, leaving a trail of death and destruction.
Winds up to 130 kilometres (80 miles) per hour smashed seafront windows and knocked over power lines and thousands of trees, blocking roads leading to affected areas, officials said.
One support vessel serving oil rigs that were walloped by eight-metre waves off Mumbai sank and 96 of the 273 people who had been on board were missing, the Indian Navy said yesterday. The defence ministry said 177 people were rescued, with warships attempting to save the rest of the crew in “extremely challenging sea conditions”.
Navy helicopters managed, however, to rescue all 137 people stuck on another barge that also slipped its anchor and ran aground. One other barge and an oil rig were also adrift.
Elsewhere, seven fresh casualties took the toll to 27 including a child crushed by a collapsing wall, an 80-year-old woman killed by a falling pole and a teenage girl by a crumbling roof.
More than 16,500 houses were damaged, 40,000 trees were uprooted and 2,400 villages were without power.
Forecasters said the cyclone would ease into a deep depression during the next six hours.