Cyclone Biparjoy: 37,800 evacuated in coastal Gujarat; IMD issues flood warning in 6 districts
Massive preparations have been made for relief and rescue operations. Photo: The Federal

Cyclone Biparjoy: 37,800 evacuated in coastal Gujarat; IMD issues flood warning in 6 districts

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The Gujarat government has evacuated nearly 37,800 people living in low-laying areas in eight districts of the state ahead of the anticipated landfall of Cyclone Biparjoy on June 15.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicts the powerful cyclone will make landfall near Jakhau port on the evening of June 15.

“VSCS (very severe cyclonic storm) BIPARJOY over Arabian sea moved north northwestward and lay centered at 2.30 IST of 14th June, about 280 km WSW of Jakhau port. To cross near Jakhau Port (Gujarat) by evening of 15th June as VSCS,” IMD said in the latest post.

Formation of Biparjoy cyclone at 6.45 am near Kutch on Wednesday.

IMD issues storm surge warning

While the cyclone lost some of its intensity to become a very severe cyclone from extremely severe cyclone, weathermen say it may intensify further, bringing storm surges to the state.

Issuing a storm surge warning for coastal Gujarat, IMD has said that the cyclone is likely to flood the low-lying areas in Kutch, Devbhumi Dwarka, Porbandar, Jamnagar, and Morbi districts.

The IMD has also predicted that the cyclone may cause extensive damage to kuccha houses in Kutch, Devbhumi Dwarka, Porbandar, Jamnagar, Morbi, Junagarh and Rajkot districts as well as uproot electricity polls, disrupt railway lines and damage standing crops and plantations.

Massive evacuation underway

The Gujarat government said in a release that they have so far evacuated 37,794 people living along the coastline. Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel visited the state government’s emergency operations centre on Tuesday night for a review of the preparedness, it said.

The state government is aiming to evacuate people residing within 10 km from the shore, said an official. So far, one fatality related to the cyclone has been recorded, he said. Unofficial sources say the number is more than that.

Evacuation operations will continue on Wednesday, officials said.

Rescue teams on the standby

The cyclone is likely to hit the shore near Jakhau port between Mandvi in Kutch and Karachi in Pakistan with sustained wind speeds of 125-135 kmph, gusting to 150 kmph on June 15 evening. The met department has predicted extremely heavy rainfall accompanied by strong winds in coastal parts of the Saurashtra-Kutch region, especially in the districts of Kutch, Porbandar and Devbhumi Dwarka.

After it makes landfall and weakens, Biparjoy is likely to remain north-eastward and is expected to move towards extreme south Rajasthan. It is expected to bring heavy to very heavy rain in north Gujarat between June 15 and 17. Fishing activities have been suspended till June 16, ports are shut and ships are anchored as the sea turned turbulent and weather became inclement with extremely heavy rainfall and strong winds in the region due to the approaching cyclone.

The government said 17 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and 12 of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) are on standby in the districts of Devbhumi Dwarka, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Junagadh, Porbandar, Gir Somnath, Morbi and Valsad.

Otherwise a bustling shipping hub, the Jakhau port on Tuesday looked like a haunted jetty following the evacuation of its entire human population. In a virtual meeting on Tuesday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah asked the Gujarat government to make arrangements for moving people living in sensitive places to safer locations and ensure all necessary services like electricity, telecommunication, health and drinking water, said an official statement.

Emergency Restoration System stationed at strategic locations

Union Power minister RK Singh on Tuesday held a meeting with senior officers of Ministry of Power, Central Electricity Authority (CEA), Grid Controller of India and PGCIL for reviewing the preparations for maintenance of power supply in coastal areas of Gujarat and Rajasthan which are likely to be affected by the cyclone.

He also discussed various necessary arrangements with the power minister of Gujarat over phone.

Singh instructed concerned officials to continuously monitor the situation and take all necessary steps for maintaining the stable grid supply to the states likely to be affected and also make arrangements for Emergency Restoration System (ERS) along with necessary men and material to be stationed at the strategic locations so that restoration works can be taken up without any delay.

Singh also instructed PGCIL to extend all possible support and assistance to Gujarat Power Department for restoration of State Transmission Lines and distribution network.

While POWERGRID is closely monitoring the weather conditions and its transmission system regularly, 24X7 control rooms have been set up at Manesar and Vadodara.

(With inputs from agencies)

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