2 dead in cyclone-related incidents in Goa, houses damaged: CM

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(Eds: With updates) Panaji, May 16 (PTI) Two persons died in Goa on Sunday in separate incidents caused due to gusty winds triggered by cyclone Tauktae, which also damaged hundreds of houses and blocked some highways in parts of the state as trees fell at several points, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said.

The major impact of the cyclonic winds was felt in Bardez taluka in North Goa district and Mormugao in South Goa, he said.

Gusty winds and heavy rains lashed several parts of the state on Sunday due to the cyclonic storm, uprooting electricity poles and affecting power supply in many parts of the coastal state, officials said.

The chief minister said there was power disruption for some time at the Goa Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), where COVID-19 patients are undergoing treatment. It could have affected the oxygen supply there, but an oxygen tank installed there on Saturday averted a major tragedy as it ensured uninterrupted supply of the life-saving gas at the facility.

'Two persons died in the state due to cyclonic winds on Sunday. One of them is a girl in North Goa, who had gone to fetch water from a well. She died after getting crushed under a tree that fell due to strong winds,' Sawant told reporters.

In the second incident that occurred in South Goa, a man riding a two-wheeler died after an electricity pole fell on him, he said.

The cyclonic winds caused major power disruption in the state since Saturday night, but the electricity department personnel are working round the clock to ensure that the power supply is restored, he added.

'Hundreds of houses suffered major damage due to the cyclonic winds. Some highways were blocked at several points after trees got uprooted. However, the roads were cleared by the disaster management teams,' Sawant said.

As per the India Meterological Department's warning, the cyclonic winds will continue to blow in the coastal state on Monday, he said.

He said the power disruption caused due to the cyclonic winds would have affected the oxygen supply to coronavirus patients at the GMCH.

'There was power disruption at the GMCH for 15 minutes on Sunday due to the cyclonic winds. But there was no issue as the new cryogenic oxygen tank was in place because of which the supply continued to be normal,' he said.

The Goa government has set up 20,000 kilo litre capacity oxygen tank in the GMCH premises on Saturday, which was made functional immediately after the complaints of patients in COVID-19 wards dying due to lack of oxygen.

Sawant said that the COVID-19 wards are getting oxygen supply from this tank.

'The state government had made it sure that all the hospitals, where COVID-19 patients are undergoing treatment, should have power backup as the warning of cyclone was issued three days back by IMD,' he added.

Earlier in the day, Goa Power Minister Nilesh Cabral told PTI that electricity supply in majority areas of the state was disrupted as several electric poles got uprooted due to the high speed winds,.

The state Fire and Emergency Services control room was flooded with hundreds of calls from locals about falling of trees and blocked roads, its director Ashok Menon said.

The very severe cyclonic storm Tauktae is likely to intensify during the next 24 hours and reach the Gujarat coast on Monday evening, the IMD has said. PTI RPS GK NP NP

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