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Mumbai, grappling with pandemic, braces for Cyclone Nisarga

Mumbai, grappling with pandemic, braces for Cyclone Nisarga

DPA
New Delhi
A tropical storm over the Arabian Sea approaching India’s western coast near Mumbai prompted authorities in the region to issue high alerts and evacuate thousands of people on Tuesday.
Cyclon Nisarga is expected to make landfall close to Alibag, 100 kilometres south of Mumbai, on Wednesday afternoon, the Indian Meteorological Department said.
The storm is expected to bring heavy rains and winds gusting up to 120 kilometres per hour.
Mumbai, the country’s financial capital, is already struggling with the highest number of coronavirus cases in the country, as the authorities battle with 41,000 infections.
Officials have begun to evacuate people from vulnerable and low-lying areas in Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital. Up to 20,000 people are likely to be evacuated in neighbouring Gujarat, domestic media reported.
Extra care is being taken to prevent disruption to the power supply as thousands of patients undergo treatment in hospitals throughout the region, National Disaster Response Force officials said.
Hospitals not treating coronavirus patients will be preparing for those in need of medical assistance, they said.
“While we fight COVID, we are prepping ourselves to also deal with cyclone... We have to safeguard our citizens and the city at large.
All the wards have begun the pre cyclone preps,” Aaditya Thackeray, a leader of the governing Shiv Sena party, said on Twitter.
Mumbai, with a population of 20 million, has faced relatively few cyclones during the past hundred years. This is the first major storm in decades.
Past storms weathered by the city include Cyclone Phyan in 2009, with wind speeds up to 85 kilometres per hour, and another storm in 1961, according to IMD chief Mrutyunjay Mohapatra.
The approaching storm could create waves as high as two metres, which could inundate low-lying coastal areas of Mumbai, Thane and Raigad districts, he said. Fishermen have been warned not to venture out to sea.
The storm may cause major damage to power and communication lines, as well as huts, thatched homes and crops, Mohapatra said.
The NDRF has mobilized 32 teams, and a total of 1,500 men are ready in the two states to help with evacuations and relief.
Nisarga is the second cyclone to strike India in a little over a week.
On May 21, Cyclone Amphan battered the country’s eastern coast including Kolkata, and neighbouring Bangladesh, killing more than 100 people and leaving a trail of destruction.

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