Cyclone Vayu: Guj on alert, people from coast to be evacuated

PTI
Tuesday, 11 June 2019

The Gujarat administration is on high alert to deal with cyclone 'Vayu', which is likely to hit the state coast near Veraval on Thursday, officials said. 

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat administration is on high alert to deal with cyclone 'Vayu', which is likely to hit the state coast near Veraval on Thursday, officials said. 

Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Tuesday said people living in the coastal belt would be shifted to safer places. 

As per the latest weather report, the cyclonic storm Vayu is located around 630 km south of Veraval coast and is "very likely to intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm" in next 12 hours and hit the state coast on June 13. 

According to officials, the cyclone is likely to affect Kutch, Jamnagar, Junagadh, Devbhoomi-Dwarka, Porbandar, Rajkot, Amreli, Bhavnagar and Gir-Somnath districts. 

Rupani told reporters in Gandhinagar that the entire coastline, starting from Kutch to south Gujarat, has been put on "high alert". 

The officials concerned are in touch with the Odisha government to learn and implement the disaster management techniques adopted by them when cyclone Fani hit the eastern coastal state recently, he said. 

"We have cancelled leaves of all the employees concerned and asked them to join the duty. After the Cabinet meet tomorrow, all the ministers will go to various districts to oversee relief and rescue operations," he said. 

"June 13 and 14 are crucial for us. We have roped-in the Army, NDRF, Coast Guard and other agencies for rescue and relief work. To minimise human casualty, we will start shifting people living in coastal areas to safer locations from tomorrow," he said. 

After a review meet with district collectors and other officials, Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue) Pankaj Kumar said schools, colleges and Anganwadis in coastal districts would remain shut on June 12 and 13. 

"In all, 36 NDRF teams will be deployed for rescue operations. We have also roped in Army, Navy, Coast Guard and BSF units. If needed, we will also take help of Air Force. We have ordered schools, colleges and Anganwadis in the districts which are likely to be hit by the cyclone to remain shut on June 12 and 13," Kumar said. 

While the cyclone's impact will most likely be in Kutch and Saurashtra regions, two NDRF teams have also been deployed in south Gujarat to deal with any eventuality, Kumar informed. 

Apart from people, authorities also aim to shift livestock to safer places, he said, adding that separate teams have been formed to expedite repairing work of roads, removing debris and restoring electricity. 

Gujarat ports and transport department principal secretary Sunaina Tomar said a disaster management plan has been put in place at all ports of the state. 

"We have installed power generators at all the ports. Cargo and Ro Ro ferry operations have been halted. Leaves of port and transport employees have been cancelled," said Tomar. 

State meteorological centre director Dr Jayanta Sarkar said the cyclonic storm is very likely to move northwards and cross the Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Mahuva, that is near Veraval, as a severe cyclonic storm with wind speed of around 120 kmph. 

"This may go up to 135 kmph during early morning of June 13," he said, adding that fishermen who ventured into the sea have been called back. 

A distant warning number 2 (DW-2) signal has been hoisted at the major ports of Gujarat to alert locals as well as fishermen, Sarkar said. 

The cyclone would leave its impact on the coastal districts, including Kutch, Bhavnagar, Gir-Somnath, Porbandar, Amreli and Junagadh, he said. 

"It would also bring heavy to extremely heavy rainfall in the region. Rain would also occur in some pockets of south Gujarat. The cyclone's effect will prevail over Gujarat on June 12, 13 and 14," he added. 

Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said the CM has called a high level meeting late Tuesday evening to review preparations to tackle the cyclone. 

"Police in coastal districts are on stand-by. Eleven companies of the state disaster response force have been deployed. If needed, services of the State Reserve Police Force will also be employed," said Gujarat Director-General of Police Shivanand Jha.  

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