Gujarat braces up for cyclone 'Biparjoy', 20,000 people evacuated
AHMEDABAD/NEW DELHI: The Gujarat government has evacuated more than 20,000 people from low-lying areas as cyclone Biparjoy is expected to cross the Saurashtra and Kutch beaches around Jakhau Port on June 15 as a very severe cyclonic storm with maximum sustained winds of 125-135 kmph gusting to 150 kmph.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has warned that the cyclone will create havoc in the coastal areas of Gujarat. Kutch, Devbhoomi Dwarka and Jamnagar districts are expected to be hit the hardest.
Trains were halted in cyclone-affected areas. According to Sumit Thakur, CPRO, Western Railways, “No passenger train is operating at present in the Saurashtra-Kutch region. 69 trains have been cancelled and 55 have been either short-terminated or short-originated.”
Four flights were cancelled on Tuesday at Bhavnagar Airport owing to severe weather. Union Home Minister Amit Shah chaired a review meeting on the preparedness to face challenges posed by the impending cyclone. Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel and MPs from eight likely affected districts in the state participated in this.
The state government evacuated those residing within 5 kilometres of the Gujarat shore. If necessary, those within 10 kilometres of the coast may be relocated over the next two days. “We have shifted 20,580 people from Gujarat’s coastal districts and moved them to relief camps,” said C C Patel, director of relief for the state government.
The Indian Coast Guard has evacuated 50 people from Oil Rig ‘Key Singapore’. The re-curving cyclone has changed its path five times. The IMD expects a change in its path in another two days. IMD cannot predict the precise landfall. As per the current assessment, it would be near Jakhau port in Gujarat, between Mandvi (Gujarat) and Karachi (Pakistan).
Fortifying disaster management
The Centre has announced three major schemes worth I8,000 crore to boost disaster response:
- Rs 5,000 cr project to expand and modernise fire services across the states
- Rs 2,500 cr project to reduce the risk of urban flooding in the seven most populous metros
- Rs 825 cr National Landslide Risk Mitigation Project for Landslide Mitigation in 17 states and UTs