Disasters & Accidents

14 dead in southern India as Cyclone Michaung makes landfall

New Delhi, Dec 6 (EFE).- At least 14 people died in India due to flooding and electrocution after Cyclone Michaung hit the southwest coast, the authorities said Wednesday.

The cyclone, which continues to weaken to a depression, made landfall near Bapatla, a coastal town in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday.

Officials in the neighboring coastal state of Tamil Nadu reported six new deaths mainly due to drowning in floods caused by the cyclone.

At least eight people were also reported dead in the rain-related incidents since Monday even before the cyclone made landfall.

Michaung, which hit the land with winds between 90 and 100 kilometers per hour (56 to 62 miles per hour) will continue to weaken in the next six hours, according to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).

The Andhra Pradesh authorities had evacuated thousands of people and have not reported any deaths due to the cyclone that has left several towns flooded.

However, in the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu, several deaths were reported due to electrocution caused by flooding and broken electric cables in the capital city of Chennai.

Falling tree branches and the collapse of several structures due to strong winds were also reported in the city.

Hundreds of people stuck in flooding were rescued with the help of boats and other vehicles, the Chennai police said.

As the cyclone leaves a trail of destruction behind it, the authorities are being questioned over the lack of preparation and poor state infrastructure.

The Hindu newspaper, based in Chennai, pointed out in its editorial, how the local power distribution company was forced to cut off power in the city on Monday to avoid electrocutions. Yet, people were electrocuted.

“Such a precaution was required at all speaks volumes about the state of the power infrastructure,” the paper said on Wednesday.

“There are no quick fixes or short cuts in addressing years of inadequate investment in maintenance and repair,” the paper added while also acknowledging some improvement in the warnings system compared to the 2015 floods that killed over 500 people in Tamil Nadu.

The passage of cyclones is common on the Indian coast.

In June, Cyclone Biparjoy left at least two dead in northwest India, while Cyclone Tauktae, one of the most virulent to hit the western coast of the Asian country in recent years, left at least 145 dead in 2021. EFE


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