Very severe cyclonic storm Vayu is set to make landfall in Gujarat and Diu coastal areas on Thursday with a wind speed 155-165 kmph. “It will cross Gujarat coast between Dwarka and Veraval as a very severe cyclonic storm with wind speed 155-165 kmph around the afternoon of June 13, Thursday,” the latest release by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
By 9 pm on Wednesday, the water-level had started to rise in Porbandar in Gujarat. Water had entered the coastal villages in the region. NDRF, Police and Army have been carrying out evacustaions in the area. Mumbai, which is not in the direct oath of the cyclone, also faced high winds and heavy rains cause by the storm. Flying debris because of the winds killed a man in Mumbai.
In view of Cyclone Vayu, the Airport Authority of India has suspended flight operations flight operations at airports in Porbandar, Diu, Bhavnagar, Keshod and Kandla from Wednesday midnight till Thursday midnight. At least 70 trains have also been cancelled to ensure passenger safety, while a total of 110 trains of Western Railway have been affected.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said that the central government was closely monitoring the Cyclone Vayu in Gujarat and other parts of India.
PM Narendra Modi, in a series of tweets, said that he was constantly in touch with the state governments. NDRF and other agencies are working round the clock to provide all possible assistance, PM Narendra Modi said.
Praying for the safety and wellbeing of all those affected by Cyclone Vayu.
The Government and local agencies are providing real-team information, which I urge those in affected areas to closely follow.
Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 12, 2019
As severe cyclonic storm Vayu inches closer towards the Gujarat coast, the Home Ministry on Wednesday reviewed preparations. Army, Navy, coast guard along with NDRF have been kept on alert for all possible rescue efforts during and after the storm.
People living in low-lying areas of Gujarat and Diu are being shifted to safer places. Over 2.75 people have been evacuated from the affected areas by Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority by Wednesday night. Those evacuated have been shifted to shelters. At least 10,000 people have also been evacuated from Diu coastal areas.
GUJARAT & DIU
According to the latest update by the met department, at 05:30 pm on Wednesday, Cyclone Vayu was 200 km south-southwest of Veraval, Gujarat. It is very likely to cross Gujarat coast between Dwarka and Veraval as VSCS with wind speed 155-165 kmph around Thursday afternoon.
To check on cyclone prepardness, Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani held a meeting with senior officials of the state, officers from the Army and NDRF and District Magistrates, in Gandhinagar late on Wednesday.
“More than 2.75 Lakh people evacuated. All sea-related activities have been stopped. All departments are on alert. Senior ministers and senior secretaries have been sent to control rooms of district administration, they are monitoring situation. Planning had been done in advance,” Vijay Rupani told news agency ANI.
He also informed that 47 troops of NDRF have reached Gujarat, five to six additional teams will reach by morning. “Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard have taken their positions. State Disaster Management is at work. Police patrolling will be done throughout the night so that no one is left in the lower regions,” CM Vijay Rupani said.
Flight operations from Ahmedabad‘s Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport to Porbandar, Diu, Kandla, Mundra and Bhavnagar have been cancelled for Thursday.
The VSCS VAYU over Eastcentral Arabian Sea lay centred at 1730 IST of 12th June, 2019 about 200 km south-southwest of Veraval (Gujarat). It is very likely to cross Gujarat coast between Dwarka and Veraval as VSCS with wind speed 155-165 kmph around afternoon of 13th June 2019 pic.twitter.com/M21nxpKw2z
India Met. Dept. (@Indiametdept) June 12, 2019
Meanwhile, in Madhopur and Porbandar, there is no electricity supply. All hotels in the region have been evacuated. Schools will remain closed. Fisherman in a few areas are adamant on not evacuating,
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has pre-positioned 52 NDRF teams, comprising about 45 rescuers each, in Gujarat and Diu and they are equipped with boats, tree-cutters and telecom equipment. As many as 34 teams of Army are also on standby.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has deployed a C-17 transporter aircraft to carry out Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) operations.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah has reviewed the preparedness in the region while his ministry has issued detailed advisories to Gujarat and Union Territory Diu, asking authorities to take all precautionary measures so as to ensure that no human life is lost, damage to vital infrastructure is minimised and there is early recovery of all essential services post-cyclone landfall.
#CycloneVayu : IAF C-17 aircraft lands at Jamnagar with NDRF team. The NDRF team will carry out #HADR missions in Gujarat, for the people affected by Cyclone Vayu. #savinglives pic.twitter.com/3E0YjsVzeW
Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) June 11, 2019
Over 50 teams have been deployed in view of the severity of the cyclone. Maximum deployment is in Gujarat. Home Secretary has also convened a meeting of NDRF, DDMA, IMD and other senior officials.
In a high-level meeting on Cyclone Vayu, Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba spoke to Gujarat Chief Secretary and Diu advisor via video conferencing to take stock of the situation.
ANI (@ANI) June 12, 2019
A pedestrian was killed Wednesday after a portion of a cladding fell on him at the bustling Churchgate railway station in Mumbai, officials said.
Madhukar Narvekar (62) was passing through Churchgate station building when the portion, part of the 81 ft x 54 ft mural of Mahatma Gandhi, fell on him, a railway official said. An ex-gratia payment of Rs 5 lakh has been announced to the family of the deceased by the Western Railway.
Even as the Cyclone vayu was passing parallel to the Mumbai coast, the metro city experience heavy rains accompanied by high speed winds on Wednesday. Similar conditions are likely to continue on Thursday. Mumbai coast also witnessed a high tide of around 12.50 feet on Wednesday evening.
Earlier in the day, KS Hosilkar, deputy director general of IMD Mumbai, said the cyclone will reach Mumbai by late evening and it won’t have a severe effect but bring rainfall and windy effect.
Meanwhile, Mumbai Police, Coast Guard and Indian Navy are on alert. All fishermen have been called back from the sea. Announcements are being made at coastal areas advising people to not venture into the sea.
110 TRAINS AFFECTED
According to the latest update by ANI, the Western Railway, which had already cancelled 70 trains, has now decided to cancel seven more trains and short terminate with partial cancellation of another five trains. As of now, a total 110 trains of Western Railway have been affected.
With cancellation of 70 trains, Western Railways had said that it will short terminate 28 others due to Cyclone Vayu.
In addition to this, various safety and security precautions are also being taken by the Western Railway for train passengers of these prone areas under the jurisdiction of WR — Veraval, Okha, Porbandar, Bhavnagar, Bhuj and Gandhidham, the railways said.
Some trains that have been cancelled are the Veraval-Amreli Passenger, Amreli-Junagadh, Delvada-Veraval on June 12 and 13.
The Airport Authority of India has also cancelled flight operations in affected parts. “In order to minimise damage to the airport infrastructure and avoid inconvenience to passengers, we have decided to suspend flight operations at airports in Porbandar, Diu, Bhavnagar, Keshod and Kandla from today midnight till tomorrow midnight,” AAI said in a release on Wednesday.
DEFENCE FORCES ON STANDBY
As the “very severe” cyclonic storm Vayu is inching closer to Gujarat coast and expected to make a landfall Thursday, the Army, the Air Force, and the NDRF teams are deployed and put on standby for rescue and relief operations along the coastal districts.
The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has also deployed ships and aircraft to enable search and rescue post the landfall of the cyclonic storm.
A total of ten columns of the Army each having a strength of about 70 persons — have been deployed in Jamnagar, Gir, Dwarka, Porbandar, Jamnagar, Somnath, Morbi, Bhavnagar, Rajkot and Amreli, while another 24 columns have been put on standby to carry out rescue and relief operations.
The IAF has also positioned the medium lift and light utility helicopters at nodal points in the state to undertake the disaster relief operations.
A highly mobile deployable radar has been placed at a high state of readiness at Gandhinagar to channelise helicopter operations towards relief and evacuation and establish communication with control centers.
(With inputs from Saurabh Vaktania from Mumbai)