The city of Mumbai is probably realising one of its worst nightmares as it is faced with a new crisis while in the middle of another one. Seemingly distorted due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, the capital city of Maharashtra has to now deal with a severe storm named Cyclone Nisarga.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the deep depression in the Arabian Sea strengthened into a cyclonic storm on Tuesday morning and will make landfall close to Alibag, 94 km south of Mumbai, on Wednesday afternoon with a wind speed of 100-110 kmph gusting to 120 kmph.
Maharashtra govt gears up to minimise destruction
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray informed that his government is implementing stringent preventive measures in a bid to minimize damage by Cyclone Nisarga which is expected to cross north Maharashtra and south Gujarat coast between Harihareshwar and Daman.
Following precautions have been taken to safeguard the citizens of Mumbai thus far:
- People living in non-pucca houses have been shifted to safer locations and an estimated 2,000 slum-dwellers in low-lying areas have been asked to evacuate.
- More than 60 novel coronavirus patients have been relocated from the Bandra Kurla Complex COVID-19 Hospital to the Goregaon NESCO.
- Ten National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) units have been deployed for rescue operations and six more kept in reserve. A 24x7 control room has been operationalized and the army, navy and air force are instructed to coordinate with the IMD.
- Prohibitory orders have been issued by Mumbai Police DCP Pranaya Ashok to prevent people from coming out to beaches, gardens, parks and other open spaces.
- The Western Naval Command is geared up for emergency response during heavy rain and flooding, along with five flood rescue and three diving teams.
- Ships of the Western Fleet have been embarked with Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) material to help coastal areas that may be inundated due to heavy rains.
- Around 95 personnel of the Mumbai Fire Brigade have been deployed in teams across all the six major beaches in the city to carry out rescue operations.
Besides, the concerned authorities are taking all the required precautions to prevent power outages across the city as well as to make sure that the chemical units and nuclear power plants in Palghar and Raigad remain unharmed.
Several Maharashtra districts are on alert
Along with Mumbai, the IMD has issued 'Red Alert' for Thane, Raigad, Nashik, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg. The weather department further predicted that the super cyclone will affect the districts of Palghar, Dhule and Nandurbar as well.
Notably, Nisarga will be the first tropical cyclone to make landfall along the Maharashtra coast during June. Recently, the Indian states of West Bengal and Odissa were battered by Cyclone Amphan which originated from a low-pressure area near Colombo, Sri Lanka.