Disasters & Accidents

Cyclone Nisarga left 6 dead in India before weakening

New Delhi, June 4 (efe-epa).- At least six people were killed due to Cyclone Nisarga that weakened into a depression on Thursday, a day after it made landfall near the Indian megapolis of Mumbai, officials said.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the cyclonic storm first turned into a deep depression soon after it crossed the state of Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital, before fizzling out into a depression to move east-northeastwards.

The weather department predicted that it would further weaken into a “well-marked low-pressure area” by Thursday night.

The cyclone caused some damage in large areas of Maharashtra but spared Mumbai, India’s financial and entertainment capital, which has also been a hotspot for Covid-19 infections in the country.

The megacity escaped without significant damages after winds changed direction and the cyclone landed further south near the coastal town of Alibag, some 100 km (around 65 miles) from Mumbai, on Wednesday afternoon.

Rajesh Mowekar, a disaster management officer in Mumbai, said the city was “very stable”.

Authorities in anticipation of large-scale damage had on Tuesday moved thousands of people away from coastal areas of Mumbai while tens of thousands others were evacuated from different parts of Maharashtra and neighboring Gujarat state.

The authorities in Mumbai had also shifted 150 Covid-19 patients from a newly built makeshift hospital to other health facilities since the new complex was located in a low-lying flood-prone area.

The Mumbai airport was forced to curtail its flight operations on Wednesday before being fully functional a day later.

However, the storm left six people dead, uprooted several trees, turned over electric poles, and damaged many building structures at it passed through the west coast.

The authorities had on Wednesday said only three people had died due to the cyclone.

State officials told EFE that three fatalities took place each in Pune and Raigad districts amid a widespread uprooting of trees and lampposts and damage to building complexes.

Vitthal Banote, head of the disaster management department in Maharashtra’s Pune, told EFE 65 villages were without electricity due to disruption in the supply.

“Some 1,253 residential houses are partially damaged (in Pune). Most of them are non-permanent structures. At least 31 primary schools also damaged,” Banote said.

“The estimate of losses is being done. It will take at least two more days to calculate the exact figure. As of now, the situation is under control but it is still raining in many places.”

Cyclone Nisarga came at a critical time for these two states that have been most affected by the coronavirus pandemic in India.

The two western states account for over 90,000 confirmed cases and nearly 3,600 deaths out of a total of over 217,000 infections and more than 6,000 Covid-19 fatalities in the country.

Nisarga was the second cyclonic storm to hit India in less than a month and came on the heels of Cyclone ‘Amphan’ that killed nearly 90 people when it hit eastern India and Bangladesh on May 20. EFE-EPA

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