Cyclone Biparjoy; 7,500 persons moved to safety in Gujarat

Ahmedabad: Cyclone ‘Biparjoy’ was likely to make landfall near Jakhau port in Gujarat’s Kutch district on Thursday afternoon as a ‘very severe cyclonic storm’ with maximum wind speed reaching up to 150 kilometres per hour, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Monday.

Officials said authorities in the coastal districts of Kutch, Porbandar, Devbhumi Dwarka, Jamnagar, Junagadh and Morbi began evacuating people residing near the sea and had suspended fishing activities as well as hoisted warning signals at ports.

“The cyclone is likely to make landfall near Jakhau port. It will hit Gujarat coast around noon on June 15. It will be preceded by winds with speeds of 135-145 kmph gusting to 150 kmph and extremely heavy rainfall,” said IMD Ahmedabad centre director Manorama Mohanty.

A warning has been issued for heavy rainfall for Saurashtra-Kutch and Gujarat regions during June 15-16 and fishermen have been warned not to venture into the sea till June 16, she said.

Around 7,500 people have been shifted to safer places, and a proper evacuation operation will begin from Tuesday for people residing in villages located within a distance of 10 kilometres from the coast in Kutch-Saurashtra districts, officials said.

More than 3,000 people were evacuated from 31 villages in Porbandar, while in Devbhumi Dwarka, more than 1,500 people were shifted to safer places. they informed.

”Some 3,000 people, especially fishermen and labourers working at a port, were shifted in Kandla. Residents of some slums near the sea have also been shifted in Mandvi. Around 23,000 people residing in villages within a radius of 10 km from the coast will be moved to (makeshift) shelter homes from Tuesday,” Kutch collector Amit Arora said.

In a tweet, the IMD said, ”Cyclone Alert for Saurashtra and Kutch Coast: Orange Message. ESCS BIPARJOY lay at 0830 IST today, about 320km SW of Porbandar, 360km SSW of Devbhumi Dwarka, 440 km South of Jakhau Port, 440 km SSW of Naliya. To cross near Jakhau Port (Gujarat) by noon of 15th June as VSCS.” Authorities in Kutch district imposed section 144 in the coastal areas and all schools and colleges were shut down till June 15, officials said.

Meanwhile, some parts of coastal districts in south and north Gujarat such as Valsad, Gir Somnath, Bhavnagar and Amreli received light rainfall on Monday morning.

Teams of National and State Disaster Response Forces (NDRF and SDRF) were being kept on stand-by in affected districts and the administration was in touch with the Army, Navy and Indian Coast Guard, officials said.

In its latest bulletin issued during the day, the IMD said the cyclone moved northwards with a speed of 7 kmph and lay centred around 320 km southwest of Porbandar, 360 km south-southwest of Devbhumi Dwarka, 440 km south of Jakhau Port, 440 km south-southwest of Naliya and 620 km south of Karachi (Pakistan).

The met department said the cyclone was very likely to move nearly northward till the morning of June 14.

Warning signals have been hoisted along the coasts for fishermen, and they have been advised not to venture into the central Arabian sea till June 15, and north Arabian sea during June 12. Fishermen out at sea have been advised to return to the coast.

The Centre has directed the state government to regulate onshore and offshore activities and mobilise evacuation from coastal areas of Saurashtra and Kutch from districts including Kutch, Devbhumi Dwarka, Porbandar, Jamnagar, Rajkot, Junagadh and Morbi.

The IMD has warned of heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places with isolated extremely heavy rainfall in the districts of Kutch, Devbhumi Dwarka and Jamnagar on June 15.

A few places in other districts of Saurashtra region close to the coast will receive heavy to very heavy rainfall. Isolated places in north Gujarat districts will also receive heavy rainfall, it said.

The IMD has also said that storm surge of about 2 -3 m above the astronomical tide is likely to inundate the low lying areas of above districts during the time of landfall, and wind speed may reach a speed of up to 190 kmph in the sea.

The met department has warned of wind speed of up to 120-130 kmph gusting to 145 kmph from the morning of June 15 when the cyclone makes a landfall in Saurashtra Kutch region.

Sea conditions are likely to remain rough to very rough till the evening of Wednesday, and high to phenomenal thereafter till the noon of June 15 before improving, it said.