Cyclone Nisarga path update: Mumbai faces crisis as it evacuates coronavirus patients

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Cyclone Nisarga will impact Mumbai today, just as India’s most populous city faces an unprecedented health crisis. The storm presents an unprecedented problem of its own, as the city rarely has to mitigate severe weather.

Cyclone Nisarga is currently wheeling towards Mumbai, India’s biggest city with a population of more than 18 million people.

The cyclone intensified to a severe cyclonic storm as it entered the Arabian Sea, with wind speeds reaching upwards of 75mph.

Earlier today, India’s meteorological agency said the storm would hit over the course of Wednesday.

They said: “[The] landfall process started and it will be completed during the next three hours.”


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“The northeast sector of the eye of the severe cyclonic storm Nisarga is entering into the land.”

While the storm ranks on the lowest level of the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, Mumbai rarely has experience with intense weather systems.

The last severe storm in the area made landfall more than 60 years ago in 1948, which killed 12 people and injured hundreds more.

Back then, the storm “paralysed” transport and cut electricity supplies as it tipped out five inches of rain.

Nisarga isn’t quite as deadly yet, as the previous storm slammed into Mumbai with wind speeds of 100mph.

Nevertheless, experts remain concerned about the impact, with the city unprepared to tackle little more than annual monsoon rains.

Adam Sobel, a climate scientist with Columbia University, said it is unclear how the city will be able to cope.

He said: “There’s been no test of how the city does in a cyclone. It just makes me nervous.”

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Heavy losses sustained due to the global COVID-19 pandemic have only compounded Mumbai’s problem.

As Nisarga drops heavy rain over Maharashtra state, officials have started evacuating city residents.

Officials have relocated at least 100,000 people, coronavirus patients amongst them, as they brace for the storm’s impact.

The city has reported 61 percent of India’s total coronavirus deaths, and 44 percent of the country’s total cases.

As a whole, India’s cases now exceed 200,000, with Mumbai’s total at 41,000.

The city’s hospital system is struggling under the weight of new infections, with some patients left without beds.

In a statement, Bidisha Pillai, chief executive of Save the Children in India, said valuable health systems could be overwhelmed further due to Nisarga.

She said: “If hospitals and clinics are damaged by the cyclone, the city won’t be able to cope with the large number of COVID-19 cases, and social distancing measures will become virtually impossible to follow.”

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