India’s western state of Gujarat is brace for the land fall of a severe cyclone, tauktae likely to be the strongest to hit the region since 1998. The storm has roared up India’s western coast over the past two days, with six people killed and thousands evacuated. Efforts are currently under to rescue more than 400 people stranded off the coast in two commercial barges. The cyclone comes amid a devastating second Covid-19 wave that has overwhelmed India health system. The Indian weather station said the storm had now intensified into an extremely severe cyclonic storm. It is expected to make landfall in Gujarat on Monday night local time, with wind speeds of up to 160km/h.
Both of the Gujarat and its neighbouring state, Maharashtra, are on high alert, with heavy rains also forecast. More than 150,000 people in low lying areas have already been moved to shelters, sparking fears of possible new outbreaks in coing weeks. And the federal government has also ordered the vaccine drive to be halted in several coastal towns believed to be at risk. The officials have advised people to stay indoors they anticipate flooded roads, damaged power lines and uprooted trees. Thousands of fishing boats have returned to harbour, and hundreds of merchant ships have been asked to re-route.