Cyclone leaves trail of destruction in Guj, death toll reaches 46

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(Eds: updating toll, adding details) Ahmedabad, May 19 (PTI) As many as 46 people were killed in the incidents related to cyclone Tauktae in Gujarat which made landfall on Monday night and left a trail of destruction before weakening and moving to Rajasthan, officials said on Wednesday.

Thousands of houses were damaged and trees and electricity poles were uprooted as Tauktae brought along heavy rains and high winds.

Of 46 deaths, 15 were reported from Amreli district in Saurashtra region, among the worst affected by the cyclone that crossed the state coast as an 'extremely severe cyclonic storm' on Monday night.

Eight people each were killed in Bhavnagar and Gir Somnath districts, an official of the State Emergency Operation Centre (SEOC) said.

Five were killed in Ahmedabad, two each in Kheda and Panchmahal and one each in Anand, Vadodara, Surat, Valsad, Rajkot and Navsari districts, the official said.

A total of 24 persons were killed in wall collapse incidents, six died in tree falls, five died due to electrocution or house collapse. One person died when a mobile tower crashed, the official said.

A total of 71 talukas (tehsils) in Gujarat were affected by the cyclone.

As many as 30,000 structures including 28,430 kachcha houses, 74,493 electricity poles and 674 roads were damaged, 68,753 trees uprooted and power supply snapped in over 9,000 villages.

The cyclone also killed 635 cattle, the SEOC said.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the cyclone on Wednesday morning weakened into a 'depression' and lay centred over east Rajasthan in the late afternoon.

It was positioned around 150 km west-southwest of Jaipur and was very likely to turn into a well-marked low pressure area, the IMD said.

In the next two days, 'the remnant of the system' is very likely to move further north eastwards across Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, it said.

It will cause light to moderate rainfall in Uttarakhand and heavy to very heavy rainfall at isolated places in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, west and east Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, north Madhya Pradesh and west Rajasthan in the next 24 hours, the met department added.

On Wednesday, a massive operation was undertaken to restore power supply to over 9,000 villages across Gujarat and clear roads, the government said. By afternoon, power supply was restored in 5,489 out of 9,685 villages, it claimed.

A majority of these villages are located in coastal districts of Bhavnagar, Amreli, Jamnagar and Gir Somnath.

Rural areas of Anand, Kheda, Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Banaskantha, Navsari and Valsad were also affected.

Also, 989 roads were blocked due to fallen trees and electricity poles, of which 899 have been now cleared, officials said. PTI KA PD VT KRK KRK

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