Cyclone Tauktae: 33 people reportedly dead, several fishermen missing and fishing boats badly damaged

The extremely severe cyclonic storm Tauktae that made a landfall in Gujarat last night has left a trail of destruction along the western coast of India. Damages still being assessed.

Pratyaksh Srivastava
| Updated: May 18th, 2021

Two fishermen inspect the damage of their boat which got broken by the devastating Cyclone Tauktae. Photo: By Arrangement

At least 33 persons have reportedly died as Cyclone Tauktae left a trail of destruction along the western coast of the country including the states of Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, and Gujarat. The extremely severe cyclonic storm made a landfall last night near Saurashtra in Gujarat.

Fishing communities in these coastal states suffered the worst brunt of the cyclonic storm in terms of loss of livelihoods. 

Officially, so far 13 people have reportedly died due to the cyclone’s impact in Gujarat, 12 in Maharashtra and eight in Karnataka.

Also Read: More than four people died every day in India in 2020 due to extreme weather events – IMD report

Usmangani Shersiya, secretary, National Fishworkers Forum, based in Thiruvanathapuram, told Gaon Connection that at present, the damage caused by the cyclonic storm cannot be specified as reports are still coming from various areas across the coast. “In Gujarat’s Saurashtra alone, the fishing community has suffered a loss of an estimated seventy crore rupees (Rs 700 million) due to the cyclone,” he said.

Mumbai is witnessing heavy rains as a result of weather disruption due to the cyclone. Photo: Twitter/Geeta parmar

Mumbai-based Kiran Koli, a senior representative from Maharashtra Machhimar Kruti Samiti told Gaon Connection that many fishermen have been reported as missing. 

Also Read: Uprooted by Cyclone Amphan, thousands of families in west coast of Bangladesh still displaced

“We were alerted by the weather department that a cyclone will hit Mumbai around May 15. So, we had parked our boats in safe areas. But still, boats have been destroyed as some of the boats did not have proper sheds to protect them from the cyclone. In the Madh port alone, 25-30 boats have been damaged,”  he said.

Efforts to rescue stranded fishers are underway by the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).

In the wake of Cyclone Tauktae, Navy vessels, helicopters, tug boats, and rescue ships have been pressed into service to evacuate over 500 people stuck on different barges in the high sea off the Mumbai coast. Rescue operations are still underway.

Meanwhile, almost 500 people are stuck in different barges belonging to the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) at high seas near Mumbai and efforts are being made to rescue them.

Also Read: Survey pegs Cyclone Nisarga losses in Maharashtra at Rs 1,000 crore. Plantations uprooted, houses flattened and fishing boats damaged

It is reported that a total of 180 people on-board barge P305, which sank after it went adrift in the Arabian Sea near Mumbai, have been saved.

Nearly 80 people are still missing. Also, a total of 339 people onboard Gal Constructor and SS-3 are said to be rescued.

(With inputs from Shrish Khare)