Preparation for Cyclone Biparjoy: Gujarat evacuates 94,000 people, deploys relief teams, shuts down trains and flights

The cyclone “Biparjoy” is set to hit the coast of Gujarat today, 15th of June, by nightfall. The government of India has prepared for this by evacuating residents in the red zones, shutting down schools and trains, and having relief teams on standby.

Satellite image of the cyclone ‘Biparjoy’ in the Arabian Sea. Credit: AccuWeather RealVue

“Biparjoy” will be the second cyclone to hit the state of Gujarat in the span of two years with the first one being “Tauktae” in May, 2021. It has been classified as a “very severe cyclonic storm” of category 3. It will traverse up the Rann of Kutch into Rajasthan.

Since the past few days, the state of Gujarat has been bracing itself for the destruction to come once the cyclonic storm ‘Biparjoy’ hits its coast. It has been predicted to hit the port of Jakhau on the Gujarat coast by tonight.

The cyclone will affect Gujarat for an approximate of 2 days, till 17th of June, 2023. Recorded at 2pm today, the cyclone is 400km away from the coast of Gujarat in the Arabian sea, moving in the northeast direction.

The cyclonic storm has been predicted to cause landfalls from the evening to midnight today for about 3-4 hours, according to Manorama Mohanty, Ministry of Earth Sciences (MET) Director.

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has said that the maximum speed the cyclone will reach is 150 kilometers per hour. The IMD has issued warnings for the coasts of Saurashtra and Kutch.

Heavy rain and strong winds are already severely affecting the areas of Dwarka, Jamnagar, Aravalli, and Gandhinagar, along with Mumbai. With the winds blowing at 70 kilometer per hour have even cause the flag

Construction Workers at the Marine Drive with high tidal waves hitting the Mumbai shore. credit: mint

Preemptive Measures

“Our aim is to ensure zero casualties”- Gujarat Health Minister, Rishikesh Patel. Amongst the people that have been evacuated, there are pregnant women who have been evacuated to hospitals and other safe locations to ensure their health and safety.

The Chief Minister of Gujarat, Bhupendrabhai Patel, held a meeting today at the State Emergency Center established at Gandhinagar, Gujarat, reviewing the relief preparations for the cyclone.

Nearly 1 lakh people have been evacuated from the red zones to temporary shelters in Kutch, Morbi, Jamnagar, Dwarka, Junagadh, Rajkot, Porbandar and Gir Somnath.

Things that have been closed:

  • All fishing activities have been halted till June 16th, tomorrow.
  • According to the Western Railway, 76 trains have been shut down to ensure the safety of the passengers during the cyclone.
  • The temples of Dwarkadhish and Gir Somnath will remain closed for today.
  • Schools and colleges in 4 districts- Kutch, Jamnagar, Dwarka, Junagadh- in Gujarat have been closed

Relief teams:

  • In different coastal districts, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has deployed 18 teams
  • The State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) has deployed 12 teams
  • The State Road and Building Department deployed 115 teams
  • The State Electricity Department Deployed 397 teams.
  • 6 HAM Radio teams have been deployed by the Gujarat State Disaster Management near Jakhau port

Preparations for landfall:

According to Inspector General AK Harbola, Commander of the Northwest region of the Indian Coast Guard, the coast guard has made 15 ships available in various arrangements, along with 7 aircraft dedicated to Search and Rescue (SAR) operations in maritime emergencies.

Additionally, there are 23 disaster relief teams stationed at ICG facilities, equipped with 29 Gemini boats, 50 Outboard Motors (OBMs) for boats, 1000 lifejackets, and 200 lifebuoys.

Preparations at Airport:

The Jamnagar Airport has halted all commercial operations until tomorrow, Friday, along with clearing its parking area of all aircrafts. The airport has also made arrangements to store diesel and petrol for use during emergencies.

Air India and Star Air have cancelled their scheduled flights which fly through Gujarat, according to NOTAM (Notice to Airmen). The airport is accessible by emergency and relief flights only.

The Director of the Jamnagar Airport, DK Singh, has said that the NOTAM has been issued from 1330 hrs on 14th June, till 2359 hrs on 16th June, tomorrow.  

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