Disasters & Accidents

86 bodies recovered from sunken boats off the western India coast

New Delhi, May 24 (EFE).- Rescuers have recovered 86 people aboard two boats that sank off the western coast in India amid a severe storm last week, raising the number of deaths due to the cyclone Tauktae to 145.

An Indian Navy spokesperson said all the 274 missing from the two vessels that sank last Monday were now accounted for. Of these, 261 were from Barge P-305 and 13 from tug Varaprada.

On Sunday, rescuers recovered eight bodies along the coast at Raigarh district in Maharashtra and eight more from the Gujarat coast near Valsad, the spokesperson said.

The search teams rescued 188 from the sunken vessels.

“While all 274 crew reported missing have been accounted for, final confirmation pending till identification of all (the dead) recovered is completed,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said the tug was located during an underwater search on Monday morning.

The total death toll from last week’s “extremely severe” cyclone Tauktae off the western coast of India has increased to 145.

The extremely severe cyclone passed over the coastal states of Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, and Gujarat, where it made landfall last Monday.

The India Meteorological Department said Tauktae hit Gujarat with sustained winds of between 144 and 165 kilometers per hour, and gusts of 185 kmph.

Officials last week confirmed that 45 people were dead in Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state.

At least six people died in neighboring Maharashtra and eight in Karnataka.

Heavy rains and winds disrupted the power supply in thousands of villages and caused extensive damage to some 16,500 homes, officials estimated.

The cyclone forced the evacuation of more than 200,000 people in Gujarat and around 12,500 in Maharashtra.

As the western coast of India still reels under the effect of Tauktae, Cyclone Yaas is expected to hit the eastern coast and southern Bangladesh Wednesday afternoon.

In Bangladesh, officials said they were preparing for any possible damage due to Yaas.

“It may not hit more than fringe area of our southwest part. This is why we think we might not require a massive evacuation, or we may not require any evacuation,” Ahmadul Haque, director of Cyclone Preparedness Program, told EFE.

“But science and nature often conflict and 100 percent prediction is not possible. Anytime it can change direction, if it moves rightward, it will hit our country. We are preparing 4,073 cyclone shelters.”

He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated another 215 cyclone shelters on Sunday.

“Our 76,000 volunteers are working on this. If needed we can complete the evacuation within six to 10 hours.”

Tauktae added to woes as India registers a record number of daily Covid-19 infections and deaths amid a devastating second wave of the pandemic.

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