Cyclone Tauktae – India’s first major tropical storm this season – is moving north parallel to the country’s west coast, bringing heavy rains, thunderstorms and high winds to several states, the meteorological department said.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued an “orange alert” for the western state of Maharashtra which is expected to face heavy rains.
It is expected to land on the Gujarat coast as early as Monday evening, bringing wind speeds of around 150 to 160 km / h (93 to 99 mph), the meteorological office added.
Four people died on Saturday as torrential rains and winds hit the state of Karnataka, the disaster management authority said on Sunday.
Several towns and villages were flooded and properties damaged, officials added.
Two other people were reportedly killed and 23 fishermen were reported missing in neighboring Kerala state, local media reported.
Up to 75,000 people are expected to be evacuated from coastal districts of Gujarat, where the deployment of the COVID-19 vaccination will be suspended Monday and Tuesday, officials told AFP.
COVID hospitals in affected districts were also supporting their power supply, local district development manager Varunkumar Baranwal told AFP.
Oxygen and power to state hospitals would be uninterrupted, Maharashtra said, while hundreds of COVID patients will be moved from field hospitals.
India is already grappling with a deadly wave of infections that has pushed its healthcare system to the point of breaking down, leading to severe shortages of hospital beds, oxygen and medicine.
The vast country of 1.3 billion people reported just over 311,170 new infections on Sunday, bringing the total to nearly 24.7 million.
The death toll has risen to more than 270,000 after 4,077 deaths were officially recorded in the past 24 hours. Experts say the actual toll could be considerably higher.
Last May, more than 110 people died after “super cyclone” Amphan ravaged eastern India and Bangladesh, razing villages, destroying farms and leaving millions without electricity.