A fisherman prepares to dry his fishing net next to the anchored boats on a beach at a fishing village off the city coast in the wake of the impending cyclone Tauktae in Mumbai on May 16, 2021.
A fisherman prepares to dry his fishing net next to the anchored boats on a beach at a fishing village off the city coast in the wake of the impending cyclone Tauktae in Mumbai on May 16, 2021.
Photo: AFP

On Monday morning, Cyclone Tauktae morphed into an "extremely severe cyclonic storm" with maximum sustained surface wind speed of 180-190 kmph, husting to 210. At 9 am today, the IMD had issued a nowcast warning predicting moderate to intense spells of rain with gusty winds at isolated places in the districts of Raigad, Palghar, Mumbai, Thane and Ratnagiri during next 3 hours.

The cyclone has already left a trail of destruction in its wake. Visuals from other states show fallen trees, damaged houses, blocked roads and more. The power supply had been affected in many states even as several individuals were killed and others rendered homeless. Keep in mind that this comes even as India remains in the grips of a far deadlier second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With Maharashtra rushing to batten down the hatches over the last two days, several important announcements have been made. For one, Mumbai will be halting the COVID-19 vaccination drive on Monday in light of the situation. A tweet by the BMC indicated that the innoculation drive at all MCGM and public vaccination centres stands cancelled.

In separate tweets, the BMC also urged Mumbaikars to avoid venturing out of their homes and going near the coast. Responding to tweeted visuals of trees falling in Wadala, the Municipal corporation handle asked people to not park vehicles or stand under vulnerable trees.

Coming to the more pressing concerns regarding supply of oxygen and other medical resources, Home Minister Amit Shah had earlier directed officials to make adequate arrangements to secure patients from losses and for possible evacuation.

State administrators and district collectors have been asked to make adequate power backup arrangements in all COVID-19 hospitals, labs, vaccine cold chain and other medical facilities. As per a PIB press note, the Home Minister had also advised officials to ensure adequate stocks of all essential medicines and supplies in hospitals keeping the likely disruption in mind. Officials have also been told to ensure safety of temporary hospitals set up near the oxygen generating plants, in case needed, their patients may be shifted to other hospitals.

Assuring all cooperation of the Central Government and its agencies, the Home Ministry had also directed officials to plan ahead and keep a buffer stock of oxygen for 2 days. "Home Minister also directed to make necessary arrangements for safety of power plants to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the hospitals and health facilities," the Press note added.

While this is a developing situation wherein adaptions may be necessary as per the cylone-induced conditions, the BMC has already taken steps to safeguard patients. At the end of last week for example, COVID-19 patients at a facility in Dahisar were shifted to another BMC hospital in anticipation of the cyclone.

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