Tropical Cyclone Tauktae made landfall as a category 3 cyclone on the southern coast of Gujarat on the night of 17 May. Before making landfall, Tauktae brushed India’s west coast over the weekend, causing damage in the states of Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, and Maharashtra. Authorities in affected states evacuated more than 200,000 people from low-lying areas near the coast, including COVID-19 patients in healthcare facilities. In Gujarat, vaccinations were suspended for two days to facilitate evacuations. More than 80 disaster management teams have been deployed to assist district authorities with preparedness and response measures. The Indian navy conducted rescue operations off the coast of Mumbai to save people from drifting vessels. While assessments in Gujarat are ongoing, early reports from the states of Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra indicate that at least 23 people have died, and over 3,100 houses have been damaged or destroyed, including at least seven primary health centers. The Inter-Agency Group of Gujarat, a coalition of humanitarian agencies supported by UNICEF, is engaging with the Government of Gujarat for rapid needs assessments and to support the Government-led response.
Tropical Cyclone Tauktae comes at a time when India is battling with a dramatic surge in COVID-19 cases since late April and a severe shortage of oxygen and medical supplies. The state of Gujarat alone reported a seven-day average of over 10,000 daily new cases as of 16 May. In total, India has confirmed over 24.6 million COVID-19 cases and more than 270,000 deaths, as of 17 May.
In Maguindanao Province, the military conducted aerial and ground operations on 15 May against the non-state armed group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in seven municipalities. This prompted the BIFF to move back to the towns in the SPMS Box area where intensified conflict between government and armed groups, and between clans, has taken place since 18 March 2021. A ceasefire was brokered by the ad hoc Joint Action Group, a composite team of government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) under the Coordinating Committee on Cessation of Hostilities for repositioning of MILF forces and military clearing operations. Provincial authorities report that 50,300 people are still displaced and hosted in 29 evacuation centers and 50 other sites in 18 municipalities of the province. Members of the Mindanao Humanitarian Team (MHT) have supported local governments by providing WASH, Food and Non-Food Items, Logistics and Coordination services.
On 12-15 May, torrential rains triggered flooding in the provinces of South Kalimantan (Tanah Bumbu and Hulu Sungai Tengah Regency), West Kalimantan (Kapuas Hulu Regency), North Sumatra (Simalungun Regency) and South Sulawesi (Wajo Regency). At least 3,000 houses were inundated by flood waters reaching 1.5 meters high. A landslide on 10 May at a traditional gold mine site in Solok Selatan Regency in West Sumatra killed seven people and nine other people were injured. In each location, the local governments and authorities have responded and provided immediate relief assistance to affected people.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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