100,000 moved to safety as India braces for cyclone

03 Juin, 2020, 17:40 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Mumbai has not been hit by a cyclone in more than 70 years raising concerns about its readiness

Nisarga threatens India about two weeks after Cyclone Amphan ravaged the northeastern region and days after the government relaxed numerous coronavirus restrictions.

Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, and neighbouring Gujarat have evacuated at least 100,000 people to safer locations and ordered fishermen not to go out until the storm passes.

A dramatic video of a tin roof getting blown off a building was shared by news agency ANI hours after tropical storm Nisarga made landfall near Alibaug, a popular coastal getaway about a 100km from Mumbai.

The wind speed will be gusting to 110-120 miles per hour.

Alibag absorbed some of the storm's power, reducing its impact on Mumbai, said Madhavan Rajeevan, secretary at the Ministry of Earth Sciences. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas Those evacuated include almost 150 coronavirus patients from a recently built field hospital in Mumbai, underscoring the difficulties facing the city ahead of the monsoon season as it struggles to contain the pandemic.

The storm moved away from the city across Maharashtra state with its wind speed slowing to 85 km/h.

Trees were uprooted because of strong winds during a cyclone in Mumbai.

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Slum-dwellers in low-lying areas of Mumbai have been instructed to move to higher ground, Thackeray said earlier on Tuesday, with city authorities turning empty schools into temporary shelters.

"The evacuation is almost complete".

"Let us fight this danger like we are standing up to the Corona pandemic and are on our way to defeat it", the state's chief minister, Uddhav Thackeray, wrote in a tweet, asking residents to stay indoors for two days.

Mumbai has not been hit by a cyclone in more than 70 years, raising concerns about its readiness.

Maharashtra and Gujarat states have reported about 44 percent of India's 200,000 COVID-19 cases nationwide, and 61 percent of all virus deaths. 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. "We saw five cyclones in the Arabian Sea, which was unusual", he said.

Nisarga was forecast to drop heavy rain and bring sustained winds of 68mph when it makes landfall as a severe cyclone about 60 miles south of Mumbai, India's Meteorological Department said. Much more frequent and intense cyclones have been appearing over a shorter time in recent years due to climate change, he said.

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