As Cyclone ‘Biparjoy’ approaches and is likely to make landfall near Jakhau port in the Kutch district off the Gujarat coast, evacuation efforts will pick up on Tuesday, with the government aiming to evacuate people within 10 km from the coast.
Authorities in the coastal districts of Kutch, Porbandar, Devbhumi Dwarka, Jamnagar, Junagadh and Morbi have started the process of shifting those living near the coastline. They said thousands of people residing in areas within 10 km from the shore would be moved to safer places from Tuesday.
“VSCS (very severe cyclonic storm) Biparjoy lay centred at 0230 IST of the 13th June, 2023 over Northeast and adjoining Eastcentral Arabian Sea about 290 km southwest of Porbandar & 360 km south-southwest of Jakhau Port. To cross Saurashtra & Kutch near Jakhau Port by evening of 15th June as a VSCS,” India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in its latest post.
Relief Commissioner Alok Pandey told reporters that the government is constantly working to ensure that there is no loss of life due to the weather phenomenon.
Pandey said the rescue operation would be carried out in two phases beginning Tuesday, with people residing 0 to 5 km from the seashore to be shifted first.
Thereafter, people living within a distance of 5 to 10 km from the coast will be moved to safer places, with priority to be given to children, pregnant women and the elderly.
A total of 12 teams each of the National Disaster Response Force and State Disaster Response Force have been deployed in the districts that are likely to be affected by the cyclone and arrangements have been made for the accommodation, food and medicine of the evacuated people.
At a high-level meeting in New Delhi on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked senior officers to take every possible measure to ensure people living in vulnerable locations are safely evacuated by the state government, a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said.
As evacuation started on Monday, Jakhau bore a deserted look. Fishing boats were lined up on the shore to ensure that they do not suffer much damage, said officials.
Shipping activities at the country’s largest public sector port in Kandla were shut following the cyclone warning and around 3,000 people, including workers there, have been shifted to safer places, district administration officials said.
Fishing activities have been totally suspended.
The IMD has warned of heavy to very heavy rain at a few places with isolated extremely heavy rain in the districts of Kutch, Devbhumi Dwarka and Jamnagar on June 15, when Biparjoy – which means disaster or calamity in Bengali – is expected to make the landfall.