225,000 evacuated as storm heads for Gujarat

Nellie Chapman
June 13, 2019

Union Earth Sciences Minister Harsh Vardhan said that Vayu - which intensified into a severe cyclonic storm two days ago - will hit the Gujarat coast on Thursday afternoon with a windspeed of 155-156 kilometres per hour.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has deployed 40 teams along the coastal areas of the State and Diu in view of the anticipated landfall of the cyclonic storm.

"We had earlier planned to shift only those living in kutchha (thatched) houses but in the wake of forecasts that the cyclone could be severe, chose to shift all the people in coastal villages", Rupani said.

Heavy rainfall is expected in the different regions of Saurashtra, Bhavnagar, Junagadh, Diu, Gir Somnath, and other regions in the southern regions of Gujarat, Valsad, Daman, Navsari, Dadra Nagar Haveli today. Indian Coast Guard, Navy, Army & Air Force units have also been put on standby.

Total 10 districts and 408 villages of the Saurashtra region of the state are likely to be impacted.

More than 2.15 lakh people were evacuated to safety with scores of buses and three special trains pressed into service.

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The Airports Authority of India announced that flight operations will remain suspended at five airports in Gujarat for 24 hours from midnight Wednesday to minimise the damage to airport infrastructure and to avoid inconvenience to passengers due to the cyclone.

As cyclone "Vayu" advances towards Saurashtra and Kutch regions of Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday advised people to follow real-time information being provided by local agencies to stay safe.

"We had earlier planned to shift only those living in kutchha (thatched) houses but in the wake of forecasts that the cyclone could be severe, made a decision to shift all the people in coastal villages", Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, who had a review meeting with the state administration at the State Emergency Operations Centre, told reporters.

It further informed that ships and aircraft of this region were dispersed at various places to enable search and rescue readiness post landfall of cyclone.

Diving and rescue teams and relief materials have been kept on standby for rendering assistance to civil authorities, as required, another official said. "We want to locate them and move them to a safer area", a forest official said.

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