(Update 1: re-ledes with report of deaths)
New Delhi, May 17 (EFE).- At least six people were killed Monday as an “extremely severe” cyclone made landfall on the west coast of India.
Six fatalities took place in Maharashtra state, according to the office of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, while nine other people were injured.
Authorities in Maharashtra, whose capital is Mumbai, evacuated 12,500 people from coastal areas before Cyclone Tauktae arrived, Thackeray’s office said.
The storm was on pace to reach the state of Gujarat shortly after midnight Monday with maximum sustained winds of up to 165 km/h (103 mph) and gusts as high as 185 km/h (115 mph), according to the forecast from the Indian Meteorology Department (IMD)
“Landfall process continues & will be completed in next 3 hours. Cyclone center is 35km East-southeast of Diu. It will cross Saurastra (Gujarat) coast to east of Diu within 3 hours,” the IMD said on Twitter.
Pankaj Kumar, a Gujarat government official, said in a statement that officials had already evacuated some 200,000 people.
The National Disaster Response Force said on Twitter that more than 100 teams had been deployed to six states to assist in evacuation and rescue efforts.
Tauktae is adding to India’s woes as the country is seeing record daily numbers of Covid-19 infections and deaths amid a devastating second wave of the pandemic.
Cyclones often hit the Indian coast, leaving a trail of death and destruction.
Seven people lost their lives when Cyclone Burevi struck southern Indian last December, damaging hundreds of homes.
In May 2020, Super-Cyclone Amphan killed more than 100 people in India and Bangladesh. EFE