Covid-19 vaccination drives were suspended in the city of Mumbai on Monday and in Gujarat state for Monday and Tuesday as Tropical Cyclone Tauktae bears down on southern and western states in India, officials said.
The storm intensified from "very severe" to "extremely severe" on Monday, according to the Indian Meteorological Department.
At least two people were killed on Sunday as a result of the storm, which caused heavy rainfall in Goa, the chief minister of the state, Parmod Sawant, said at a press conference.
“One boy died due to a tree falling on his head, and the second death, two people were on a motorcycle when an electric pole fell on them and one died on the way to the hospital,” Sawant said.
A total of 101 teams of India’s National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed across six states of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Goa and Maharashtra, and 22 teams have been readied for back up, according to Satya Pradhan, director general of the NDRF.
“The main impact state will be Gujarat, and that’s where we expect maximum impact,” Pradhan said, adding that more than 50 teams had been deployed to that region alone.
The Indian Coast Guard and Navy have also deployed ships and helicopters for search and rescue operations and the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has directed senior officials to take “every possible measure to ensure that people are safely evacuated by the State Governments and to ensure maintenance of all essential services,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s office on Saturday said.
Modi, who reviewed preparedness for the cyclone on Saturday, also directed officials to “ensure special preparedness on COVID management in hospitals, vaccine cold chain and other medical facilities on power back up and storage of essential medicines and to plan for unhindered movement of oxygen tankers,” according to a statement Saturday.
In Mumbai, 580 Covid patients from “jumbo centers” -- the city’s makeshift covid care centers -- were shifted to various hospitals ahead of the storm on Friday and Saturday, a statement from the city’s municipal corporation said.