Over 37,000 evacuated as Gujarat braces for 'Cyclone Biparjoy'

The cyclone is expected to cross between Mandvi in Kutch and Karachi in Pakistan near Jakhau port tomorrow evening.
High tides crash at the sea front at Colaba, ahead of cyclone Biparjoy's landfall in Kutch, in Mumbai. (Photo | PTI)
High tides crash at the sea front at Colaba, ahead of cyclone Biparjoy's landfall in Kutch, in Mumbai. (Photo | PTI)

NALIYA:  As Cyclone Biparjoy barrels towards the Kutch coast in Gujarat, the government said they have so far evacuated nearly 37,800 people living near the sea in eight districts of the state.

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

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

Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel visited the state government’s emergency operations centreon Tuesday night for a review of the preparedness, it said.

The Gujarat government said in a release that they have so far evacuated 37,794 people living along the coastline.

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.

The army is also prepared to assist in relief efforts and has stationed flood relief columns at strategic locations. The army has coordinated its plans with the civil administration and the NDRF.

The cyclone has “extensive damaging potential” and is likely to impact Kutch, Devbhumi Dwarka and Jamnagar districts the most, IMD has 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. Evacuation operations will continue on Wednesday, officials said.

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 Thursday evening (June 15).

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 15-17.

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.

Otherwise, a bustling shipping hub, the Jakhau port on Tuesday looked like a haunted jetty following the evacuation of its entire human population.

The Western Railway has taken precautionary measures to ensure the safety of passengers and train operations. As a result, 69 trains have been cancelled, 32 trains have been terminated short of their destination, and 26 trains have originated short of their source.

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. 

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