Cyclone Tauktae: COVID-19 vaccination program suspended in Gujarat on May 19; drive to resume on May 20
AFP

In the wake of Cyclone Tauktae, COVID-19 vaccination drive in Gujarat has been cancelled for May 19 and will resume on May 20. The decision was announced by the Chief Minister's office as the cyclone wreaked havoc in the state bringing in gusty winds and heavy rains.

On Sunday (May 16) evening, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had announced that the vaccination drive will remain shut on May 17-18 in the wake of cyclone. The Chief Minister had also urged the citizens to not to leave their homes on May 17 and 18 as "there is a possibility of heavy rains along with hurricanes in the entire state of Gujarat".

Tauktae has now weakened into a "cyclonic storm" and will gradually become a "deep depression" as it moves northwards, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said. The cyclonic storm dumped heavy showers in parts of the state, with as many as 35 talukas receiving over one inch of rainfall. Heavy showers left many areas of Ahmedabad city inundated with knee-deep water during the day.

Over 16,000 houses were damaged, and more than 40,000 trees and over 1,000 poles uprooted due to the cyclonic storm in Gujarat, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said. The Indian Coast Guard on Tuesday rescued eight fishermen onboard a fishing boat that drifted into the sea off the coast of Veraval harbour due to the cyclone, officials said.

The landfall process of the eye of the extremely severe cyclonic storm Tauktae, which had hit the Gujarat coast in the Saurashtra region between Diu and Una last night, ended around midnight, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said. As many as 35 talukas received more than one inch of rainfall, with Bagasara taluka receiving 9 inches of rainfall, Gir Gadhada 8 inches, Una 8 inches, Savarkundla 7 inches and Amreli 5 inches. Rajula, Khamba, and Babra talukas each received 5 inches of rainfall, the CM said.

Many areas of Ahmedabad city were inundated with knee-deep water following incessant downpour since afternoon as cyclone Tauktae passed northward along the district's periphery. The city received a staggering 75.69 mm of rain between 6 am and 4 pm, said Municipal Commissioner Mukesh Kumar. Cyclone 'Tauktae,' crossed the Gujarat coast as an "extremely severe cyclonic storm" around midnight and gradually weakened into a "severe cyclonic storm," before further weakening to a "cyclonic storm" now, the IMD said.

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