This photo shows stranded workers from a barge being airlifted by naval personnel in the Arabian sea. AFP
Eighty-nine people remained missing in India and hundreds of thousands were without power on Wednesday in the wake of a major cyclone, adding to the country's woes as it suffered a record number of Covid-19 deaths.
Driving waves of up to 25 feet on the high seas, cyclone Tauktae rammed into the western states of Maharashtra and Gujarat over the past two days, killing at least 29 people and leaving a trail of destruction, authorities said.
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The storm smashed into the Bombay High oilfield near Mumbai, where India's biggest offshore oil rigs are located, and sank the barge that had 261 personnel on board.
The defence ministry said Wednesday that Navy ships had rescued more than 600 people after waves up to eight metres (26 feet) high hammered offshore oil installations, according to Agence France-Presse.
A damaged portion of a building is pictured after heavy winds caused by Cyclone Tauktae in Mumbai. Reuters
But planes and helicopters were still searching for 89 workers missing from one of several support vessels that slipped its moorings in the storm and sank.
The navy said 184 people had been rescued from the barge "P305", which was engaged in contract work awarded by Oil and Natural Gas Corp, India's top exploration company.
Three ships and aircraft are continuing to look for the remaining personnel, it added.
More than 16,500 houses were damaged, 40,000 trees were uprooted and nearly 6,000 villages were without electricity.
Power was restored to around 2,100 villages, but hundreds of thousands of people remained without power on Wednesday.
A damaged vehicle is seen under a fallen tree on a road after heavy winds caused by Cyclone Tauktae in Mumbai. Reuters
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to conduct an aerial survey later in the day of the storm-hit areas in his home state Gujarat, where the cyclone made landfall on Monday packing gusts of up to 210 kph (130 mph), the state government said.
The storm has piled pressure on Indian authorities as they grapple with a massive rise in coronavirus infections and deaths as well as a shortage of beds and oxygen in hospitals.
In Gujarat, among the hardest hit states by the second wave of the virus, the cyclone has ripped out power pylons, damaged some 16,500 homes and blocked over 600 roads, authorities said.
The state's farm sector is also likely to have taken a hit, including the major mango growing belt of Saurashtra.
Officials said work to restore electricity supply and clear roads was ongoing, but some parts were still cut off.
"Mobile phone networks are still down in many areas, and I don't think they will be restored by today," Aayush Oak, the top official in Gujarat's Amreli district, told Reuters.
The resulting wall of water and debris barrelled down a tight valley in India's Himalayan north on Sunday morning, destroying bridges, roads and hitting two hydroelectric power plants.
Two Indian coast guard ships were sent to help the refugees, 23 of whom were children, and the Indian government is in discussions with Bangladesh to ensure their safe return, he said.
Nearly 800,000 people in eastern India have been evacuated ahead of a major cyclone packing winds gusting up to 200 kilometres per hour and torrential rains, officials said on Thursday.
Sources familiar with the details of the accident said that it occurred on Monday afternoon, as a result of a malfunction in the bus's brakes, which led it to collide with a bridge, according to local media.
Mariam Al Kaabi, UAE Ambassador to the Arab Republic of Egypt and Permanent Representative of the UAE to the Arab League, represented the UAE during the signing ceremony.
They prayed to Allah Almighty to perpetuate the blessings of security and stability, and to revisit the fasting month with more goodness, progress, and prosperity for the UAE and its people.
Sheikh Mohammed said on Twitter, “Today, I was briefed, accompanied by my brother, the President of the State, may God preserve him, on the ongoing preparations in the country to host the COP28 Conference of the Parties, in which 70,000 people from 198 countries are expected to participate. Our national team is ready. Protect the planet.”