The Indian military is continuing search and rescue operations for a third day after Cyclone Tauktae, the strongest storm on record to hit India’s west coast, left dozens missing and stranded at sea. The cyclone, formed in the Arabian Sea, has killed at least 40 people since it made landfall in western Gujarat state on Monday night. Its strong winds and heavy rain caused flooding and destruction in low-lying coastal regions, even before it made landfall. Gujarat was the hardest-hit state. ndia’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the region. He made an aerial survey of the damage. The cyclone had maximum sustained winds of 205 kilometers per hour (125 mph), equivalent to a high-end Category 3 hurricane. One barge, operated by the Indian Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), held a crew of 261 people when it sank in an offshore oilfield on Monday. The navy has rescued 188 crew members, recovered 22 bodies, and was searching for the remaining 51 as of late Wednesday. The 137 crew members on board of another barge, the Gal Constructor, were evacuated.
Deaths have been recorded in the western states of Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Gujarat and Goa. Other state authorities have cited lightning strikes, building collapses, and the falling of trees and electricity poles as cyclone-related causes of deaths. One major concern had been the impact of the cyclone on Covid-19 relief and treatment efforts, as the country is confronting with the second wave of the virus. Power supply was disrupted to 100 coronavirus hospitals Tuesday.