Cyclone Nisarga puts pressure on municipal bodies in Maharashtra in the middle of its fight against Covid-19. Cyclone-affected areas of Gujarat are not major Covid-19 outbreak centres except Surat.HIGHLIGHTS.
Cyclone Nisarga to stretch municipal workforce further in Maharashtra.
Nisarga-affected areas of Maharashtra are also badly hit by Covid-19 outbreak.
Gujarat gets a reprieve, worst-affected Ahmedabad stays safe from Nisarga
Cyclone Nisarga has made landfall at Alibag just to the south of Mumbai in Maharashtra. Nisarga became the first cyclone in recorded history to hit Mumbai, and also the first to hit Maharashtra in the month of June.
It has come as a double whammy for Maharashtra. Cyclone Nisarga has impacted some of the areas worst-affected by the coronavirus outbreak: Mumbai, Thane, Raigad and the neighbouring areas.
Cyclone Nisarga has Mumbai, Thane, Raigad, Palghar, Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri in its ambit in Maharashtra, and Valsad, Navsari, Surat, Bhavnagar and Bharuch in Gujarat besides the Union Territories of Dadra Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu.
In Maharashtra, the Cyclone Nisarga-affected areas are also the areas which have previously seen municipal bodies struggling after every spell of heavy rain. Even in 2019, over a dozen people died in Mumbai alone in rain-related incidents.
Mumbai chokes every time it rains excessively. Cyclone Nisarga is the first such storm to hit Mumbai and it may bring the maximum volume of water in the city. The July-2005 shower is still recalled by residents of the city. But the situation has not improved much even 15 years later.
And, this is where the fight against Covid-19 gets hampered. The municipal bodies, which usually engage in the upkeep of the cities, are at the forefront of the fight against Covid-19.
The BMC health and other municipal workers, who would be otherwise pressed into immunization, population survey and fumigation activities during pre-monsoon and monsoon season, had been pulled out to tackle the coronavirus situation in Mumbai.
Now, they would be re-deployed to de-clog the cities putting the anti-coronavirus drive in peril. This comes at a time when for the first time, Maharashtra has started showing a lower than the national rate of increase in coronavirus spread.
Cyclone Nisarga will certainly cleanse the air in Mumbai and around of coronavirus to a large extent, and ease the pressure on water supply in the wake of Covid-19 sanitation drives. But, it increases the worry of the authorities.
Mumbai including Navi Mumbai has reported over 45,000 cases of Covid-19. Thane has reported nearly 100, Raigad 648, Palghar 156, Ratnagiri 304 and Sindhudurg 52 novel coronavirus cases. Together, they account for over 65 per cent coronavirus cases in Maharashtra.
If the Covid-19 numbers from Kalyan-Dombivali, Ulhasnagar, Bhivandi Nijampur, Mira Bhayandar, Vasai-Virar and Panvel are included, the combined share in Maharashtra coronavirus outbreak goes past 70 per cent.
Covid-19 situation of Gujarat, in contrast, is not as adversely affected by Cyclone Nisarga. Here, almost two-third of over 17,000 coronavirus cases is from Ahmedabad itself, which is not in the Cyclone Nisarga coverage.
Cyclone Nisarga covers Surat, the second-worst Covid-19 affected district of Guajrat (over 1,700 cases), Bhavnagar (126), Bharuch (44), Valsad (41) and Nasari (26). Except Surat, Gujarat's anti-coronavirus drive is not much impacted.
The Union Territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli (4 Covid-19 cases) and Daman and Diu (no confirmed Covid-19 case) are in the zone of Cyclone Nisarga but they don't have serious coronavirus problem.