India struggles with twin challenges of cyclone and pandemic

The cyclone that barreled into eastern India's coastal region has left authorities dealing with twin disasters: the destruction on the ground and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. (MGN)
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NEW DELHI (AP) The cyclone that barreled into eastern India's coastal region has left authorities dealing with twin disasters: the destruction on the ground and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The challenges include crowded shelters that could emerge as viral clusters, outbreaks of other diseases triggered by the cyclone and flooding, and jobless migrant workers returning to villages from cities like Mumbai and New Delhi, potentially bringing the virus with them.

The pandemic made evacuations harder since many cyclone shelters were being used for quarantining virus patients.

Authorities say social distancing was maintained while nearly 500,000 people had been evacuated. But testimonies suggest this often was not possible.