Cyclone Tauktae weakens after landfall in India.

by Helvine Achieng
May 19, 2021

A cyclone, identified as Cyclone Tauktae, which is "extremely severe", has made landfall in the India's state of Gujarat with wind speeds of up to 160km/h (100mph). The cyclone travelled along India's western coast, narrowly missing the city of Mumbai. At least 12 people were killed, and 200,000 evacuated.

The navy has sent three warships to rescue hundreds of people stranded off the coast in two barges. Rain and wind with over 100 km/h ravaged coastal areas in the western state of Gujarat, uprooting trees and electricity poles. In the Saurashtra district, electricity has been cut as a precautionary measure. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that the cyclone had further weakened and would gradually weaken in the next three hours.

But authorities have asked people to remain cautious as some areas in Gujarat continue to witness strong winds.

Tauktae is the strongest cyclone to strike the region since 1998, and both Gujarat and neighbouring Maharashtra – home to the city of Mumbai – have been on high alert.

Although Covid cases are declining in both states, the devastating effects of India's second wave are still being felt.

The cyclone comes amid a Covid-19 wave that has overwhelmed Indian hospitals.