MORBI: Cyclone Biparjoy, which ripped through Kutch and parts of Saurashtra region of Gujarat, has left a trail of destruction as gusty winds and rains wreaked havoc, officials said.
Heavy rains lashed the entire Kutch district since the cyclone started making landfall near Jakhau Port from 6.30 pm on Thursday and the process continued till 2.30 am, an official said.
Biparjoy (meaning disaster or calamity in Bengali) unleashed destructive wind speeds of up to 140 kmph and incessant rains as trees and electricity poles were uprooted, while seawater entered villages located in low-lying areas.
"Forty-five villages in Naliya tehsil of Kutch district plunged into darkness after electricity cables were snapped and poles got uprooted due to the cyclone," the official said.
After the landfall process got over, the intensity of the cyclone reduced from 'very severe' to 'severe' category.
It has moved north-eastwards and weakened into a cyclonic storm. It will become a depression by the evening over south Rajasthan, he said.
A cattle-rearer duo of father and son died while trying to save their goats stuck in a flooded ravine in Bhavnagar district on Thursday.
Kutch collector Amit Arora said no report of any fatality caused due to the cyclone has been received so far from the district.
"There are cases of injuries and trauma," he said.
An official of the State Emergency Operation Centre (SEOC) said they have not received report of any death from the state so far.
In a statement issued on Friday morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said, "BIPARJOY has weakened into severe cyclonic storm and lay centred at 0530IST of today over Saurashtra & Kutch, about 70km East-North East of Jakhau Port (Gujarat), 50 km North-East of Naliya.
It is very likely to move nearly North-Eastwards and weaken gradually into a cyclonic storm over Saurashtra & Kutch around noon and subsequently into a deep depression around evening of 16th June.
"The cyclone will move towards south Rajasthan," a met department official said.
While approaching the Gujarat coast, the cyclone moved with a speed of 13 kmph. During the landfall, the wind speed was 115-125 kmph gusting to 140 kmph, the IMD said.
A relief and rescue operation is underway with multiple teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) deployed in the affected districts, officials said.
Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel reviewed the situation and the rescue and relief operation at the State Emergency Operation Centre in Gandhinagar.
The state government said it has deployed 631 medical teams and 504 ambulances in the eight affected districts.
It said that till Thursday evening it shifted more than 94,000 persons living in the eight coastal districts to temporary shelters.
Apart from teams of NDRF and SDRF, Indian Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Border Security Force (BSF) have been roped in for relief and rescue operations, officials said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to CM Patel over the phone on Thursday night and enquired about the situation in the state following the landfall.
Among other things, the PM sought to know the steps taken by the state administration for the safety of wild animals, especially the lions in the Gir forest.