With cyclone 'Biparjoy' likely to make landfall near Jakhau Port in Gujarat's Kutch district on Thursday, the state administration has shifted more than 74,000 people living near the coast as a precaution and deployed disaster management units for rescue and relief measures, said officials on Wednesday.
With the cyclone in the Arabian Sea barrelling towards the Gujarat coast, parts of the Saurashtra-Kutch region received heavy rains accompanied by strong winds, the Met department said. This will be the second cyclone to hit the state in two years after 'Tauktae' in May 2021. According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), cyclone 'Biparjoy' would make landfall near Jakhau Port on Thursday evening as a 'very severe cyclonic storm' with maximum wind speed reaching up to 150 kilometres per hour. Of the total 74,345 people moved to temporary shelters in eight coastal districts, nearly 34,300 were evacuated in Kutch district alone, followed by 10,000 in Jamnagar, 9,243 in Morbi, 6,089 in Rajkot, 5,035 in Devbhumi Dwarka, 4,604 in Junagadh, 3,469 in Porbandar district and 1,605 in Gir Somnath district, said a release by the Gujarat government. Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel on Wednesday night reached the State Emergency Operations Centre (SEOC) in Gandhinagar and held a meeting with top officials to review the situation and steps taken so far by the administration in view of the approaching cyclone, said the release. Meanwhile, two most famous temples of Gujarat -- Dwarkadhish Temple in Devbhumi Dwarka and Somnath Temple in Gir Somnath district -- will remain closed on Thursday for devotees, said another release. The IMD said the intensity of rainfall in parts of the state would increase as the cyclone approaches , with isolated places in the districts of Kutch, Devbhumi Dwarka and Jamnagar likely to witness extremely heavy rains. In 12 hours till 6 pm Wednesday, 65 talukas of districts in Saurashtra regions received rainfall, SEOC said in a release. According to SEOC, 54 talukas across several districts received more than 10 mm of rainfall in the last 24 hours till Wednesday morning. Khambhaliya taluka of Devbhumi Dwarka district received the highest 121 mm of rainfall, followed by Dwarka (92 mm) and Kalyanpur (70 mm) during this period. As per the government, 15 teams of NDRF (National Disaster Response Force), 12 of SDRF (State Disaster Response Force), 115 teams of the state road and building department, and 397 of the state electricity department have been deployed in different coastal districts. "Officials of departments of electricity and road & building have also reached designated spots to restore connectivity and power supply. We have also deployed teams carrying HAM radio sets and satellite phones in the coastal region for better communication," said Commissioner of Relief, Alok Kumar Pandey. The Western Railway said 76 trains have been cancelled, 36 short-terminated and 31 short-originated as a precautionary measure to ensure safety of passengers and train operations. Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel was briefed about the evacuation measures across 164 coastal villages, a CMO statement said.
Patel interacted with sarpanches of the villages through the CM Dashboard at state capital Gandhinagar and offered his guidance on arrangements to deal with the cyclone fallout. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday spoke to the three service chiefs and reviewed the preparations of the armed forces to deal with the impact of the cyclone.
After reviewing the preparations, Singh said the armed forces are ready to provide every possible assistance to civil authorities in tackling any situation or contingency that may arise due to the cyclone. Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya also separately reviewed the preparedness measures being taken in Kutch. He visited the Bhuj Air Force station to take stock of the preparations made by 'Garuda' Emergency Response Team of the Indian Air Force. Mandaviya said "our jawans are fully prepared for the safety of life and property from the cyclone." He also reviewed the availability of oxygen, ventilators and critical care beds in Kutch district government hospitals, trust-run hospitals and other hospitals in the region. Cyclone Biparjoy is very likely to cross Saurashtra and Kutch and adjoining Pakistan coasts between Mandvi (Gujarat) and Karachi (Pakistan) near Jakhau Port by the evening of June 15 as a very severe cyclonic storm with maximum sustained wind speeds of 125-135 kmph gusting to 150 kmph, the IMD said. Due to this, a few places in Porbandar, Rajkot, Morbi, Junagadh and remaining districts of Saurashtra and North Gujarat regions are likely to receive heavy to very heavy rainfall on Thursday. The IMD has also forecast light to moderate rainfall with heavy to extremely heavy showers at isolated places over north Gujarat districts and adjoining south Rajasthan on Friday. A total of 33 teams have been earmarked by the NDRF to undertake relief and rescue operations in Gujarat and Maharashtra ahead of the expected landfall of cyclone, officials said in New Delhi.
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