Cyclone Tauktae with winds up to 185 kilometres per hour began making landfall on Gujarat’s Saurashtra coast near Diu on Monday night, after dumping heavy rains on Mumbai and killing at least 20 people.
According to Indian media, the cyclone forced the evacuation of more than 200,000 people in Gujarat.
At least six people were killed in Maharashtra’s Konkan region in separate incidents related to the storm and three sailors remained missing after two boats sank in the sea earlier in the day, officials said.
“The landfall process of extremely severe cyclonic storm Tauktae has started as forward sector of eye of the storm is entering the Saurashtra coast to the east of Diu,” the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in Ahmedabad. The tropical storm ‘Tauktae’ (pronounced as Tau’Te), which had intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm, lies close to the Gujarat coast, the IMD said.
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has deployed 44 teams in Gujarat where the landfall of the cyclone is anticipated between Porbandar and Mahuva during the night of May 17. Besides 10 teams in Maharashtra, nine teams in Kerala, eight teams in Tamil Nadu, three teams in Karnataka, three teams in Daman & Diu, one team in Dadra Nagar and Haveli and one team in Goa have been deployed in the coastal districts of the states/UTs.
Hours before Cyclone Tauktae made landfall on the Gujarat coast, the Indian Navy rescued 132 people on board a barge that went adrift in the Arabia Sea near Mumbai.
An official said that the navy has deployed the P-8I long-range, multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft to join the search and rescue operations. “A total of 132 people from Barge P305 have been rescued in extremely challenging sea conditions,” a Navy spokesperson said, adding that the Search and Rescue (SAR) operations continued through the night for the remaining crew.
Earlier on Monday, after receiving messages to rescue 410 people on board two barges off the Mumbai coast, three frontline Navy warships INS Kolkata, INS Kochi and INS Talwar were deployed. “In a separate effort, INS Kolkata rescued two survivors from the life raft of vessel Vara Prabha, and joined INS Kochi for the SAR of Barge P305 crew”, the Navy official said.