Over 16K Homes Damaged in India as Cyclone Tauktae Comes Ashore

More than 16,000 homes were damaged in the Indian state of Gujarat, The Hindu newspaper reported, and more than 50 people died in Gujarat and Maharashtra after Cyclone Tauktae brought sustained winds of up to 130 mph when it made landfall in Gujarat late Monday.

Search and rescue efforts for missing people continue, Navy Commander Alok Anand told the Associated Press.

However, the weather has improved since Monday. The Indian Meteorological Department said Wednesday that the storm has weakened into a depression over the south of Rahasthan state and the Gujarat region.

For more reporting from The Associated Press, see below.

India Cyclone Tauktae
Residents cut branches of a fallen tree in Mahuva on May 19, 2021, after Cyclone Tauktae hit the west coast of India with powerful winds and driving rain, leaving at least 50 people dead. SAM PANTHAKY/AFP via Getty Images

Indian navy ships recovered 22 bodies of people who were aboard a barge that sank off Mumbai as the cyclone blew ashore, officials said Wednesday. The search is continuing for 55 missing people, navy spokesman Mehul Karnik said.

He said the three ships and helicopters involved in the search had rescued 184 people in rough seas with waves of up to 25 feet.

In another operation, a navy helicopter rescued 35 crewmembers of another barge, GAL Constructor, which ran aground north of Mumbai, a government statement said.

Both barges were working for Oil and Natural Gas Corp., the largest crude oil and natural gas company in India.

The company said the barges were carrying personnel deployed for offshore drilling and their anchors gave away during the storm. India's biggest offshore oil rigs are located off Mumbai.

In neighboring Nepal, authorities asked mountaineers to descend from high altitudes because the storm might bring severe weather.

Hundreds of climbers, guides and staff are attempting to climb various mountains in Nepal this month, when weather is usually the most favorable in the high altitudes. Nepal has eight of the world's 14 highest peaks, including Mount Everest.

Nepal's Department of Tourism on Tuesday asked climbers and outfitting agencies to monitor the weather and stay safe.

In 2014, snowstorms and avalanches triggered by a cyclone in India killed 43 people in Nepal's mountains in the worst hiking disaster in the Himalayan nation. The snowstorms were believed to be whipped by the tail end of a cyclone that hit the Indian coast a few days earlier.

The blizzards swept through the popular Annapurna trekking route and hikers were caught off-guard when the weather changed quickly.

India Cyclone Rescue
A man waves as people rescued by the Indian navy from a barge that sank in the Arabian Sea walk out from Indian naval ship INS Kochi in Mumbai on May 19, 2021. The barge carrying personnel deployed for offshore drilling sank off Mumbai as a deadly cyclone blew ashore this week. Rajanish Kakade/AP Photo