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Gujarat braces for major cyclone “Vayu”; landfall likely early on Thursday

Gandhinagar, June 12: The largest port of Kandla in Kutch district of Gujarat was evacuated on Wednesday and its staff directed to move to safer places in view of mega-cyclone Vayu’s likely landfall in coastal areas of the state early on Thursday.

According to the updates available with the Gujarat Government on Wednesday morning, the cyclone was located around 340 km south of Veraval. It is likely to move northward to cross the Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Mahuva, or Veraval and Diu as a “very severe cyclone with wind speed of 145-155 km per hour, gusting to 170 km per hour around morning of June 13.”

As a precautionary measure, all seven jetties at Kandla port were evacuated and ships removed deep into the Arabian Sea for safety. Also, nearly 2,700 employees of the port, and their family members, were directed to shife to the safer areas, reports reaching here said on Wednesday. In 1998, a super-cyclone had caused severe damaged to Kandla port and claimed many lives.

In view of Odisha successfully minimizing the damage caused by cyclone Fani in Bay of Bengal in May this year, the State Government is also seeking guidance from the Navin Patnaik Government. On Tuesday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who represents Gandhinagar constituency in the Lok Sabha, also reviewed the state of preparedness to minimize the loss of life and property.

The State Government, in a state of high preparedness, is also leaving no stone unturned and activated official machinery at all levels to meet the natural calamity. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani held several meetings with officials and dispatched ministers to different coastal areas as part of preparedness.

Gujarat Chief Secretary JN Singh told reporters on Tuesday that the cyclone is likely to hit the coast somewhere between Veraval in Gir-Somnath district, and Diu. All hotels in Union Territory of Diu have been evacuated. He also apprised an urgent meeting of National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), chaired by Cabinet Secretary PK Singh, that nearly 2.80 lakh people from the coastal areas would be evacuated. Their evacuation commenced on Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, around 40 rescue teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) from Patna, Chennai, Punjab and other places have been dispatched by the Centre to Gujarat to help the State Government officials in any eventuality. Teams of various security forces, including the Indian Army, Navy and the Air Force, besides Coast Guard and BSF, have also been asked to remain available at a short notice. About five lakh food packets were prepared in Gandhinagar and other places for distribution to any possible cyclone victims.

Most of the coastal districts in the Saurashtra region are expected to receive heavy to very heavy rains due to the cyclone, and these areas could witness tidal waves of up to four meters, according to India Meteorology Department (IMD). Accordingly, the authorities have alerted the local people through public address system and the social media. The government has also announced a two-day holiday in all academic institutions in six districts of Saurashtra.

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