Rare cyclone to disrupt business in India’s financial hub

NEW DELHI • Mumbai, the financial capital of Asia’s third-largest economy, is likely to be affected by a cyclonic storm which may make downfall today, potentially causing widespread disruption in business and hurting efforts to fight the virus outbreak in a city that’s emerged as the epicentre of infections in India.

The second cyclone in the country in a fortnight will carry heavy rain and wind speeds as high as 120kph (75 mph). It is seen hitting the coasts of Maharashtra and Gujarat today afternoon and will be intense enough to damage communication, electricity poles, trees and plantations, according to the India Meteorological Department.

The storm comes at a time when India is slowly springing back to life after nearly two months of complete shutdown as the world’s most-populous nation took stringent measures to check the spread of Covid-19. The outbreak in Mum- bai has snowballed, with the city now accounting for more than a fifth of India’s over 5,600 deaths and more than 198,000 infections (at press time).

The storm, called Nisarga, follows the worst cyclone over the Bay of Bengal since 1999. The Amphan displaced millions and killed more than 100 people across India and Bangladesh late in May.

Rainfall will intensify from June 2, the weather office said. Some parts of the central and coastal areas of Maharashtra, including Mumbai and Thane, will receive heavy to “extremely heavy” rainfall today.

The cyclone is going to batter a part of India at a time when millions in the country have been pushed into poverty after losing their livelihoods because of the world’s most stringent stay-at-home rules. Asia’s third-biggest economy is heading for its first full-year GDP drop in more than four decades. — Bloomberg