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Thursday, June 17, 2021

Cyclone Tauktae progresses towards Gujarat

Evacuation from coastal villages to begin today, Covid hospitals get power back-up

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad, Rajkot |
Updated: May 16, 2021 8:44:11 pm
Cyclone Tauktae progresses towards GujaratAs cyclone Tauktae progresses towards Gujarat coast, the IMD has issued an alert of heavy rain very likely at isolated places in Valsad, Daman and Dadra Nagar Haveli from Monday. (PTI Photo)

The Gujarat government, as part of its preparations ahead of the very severe cyclonic storm, Tauktae, will evacuate people from vulnerable villages along the Saurashtra coast from Monday morning.

Measures will be taken to ensure that 1,300 Covid hospitals have power backup as the cyclone is likely to bring heavy rain and squally winds, while 44 teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and 85 ICU-on-wheel ambulances have been put on standby.

Briefing the media in Bhavnagar about state’s preparedness to deal with the cyclone that is likely to make landfall on the intervening night on Monday and Tuesday, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said, “Through a video conference, Union Home Minister has given guidance to the state government about the likely scenario and accordingly, Gujarat has prepared an action plan. Our target is to ensure zero casualty.”

Tauktae, located 620 km south-southeast of Veraval (Gujarat) as on Sunday evening, is likely to intensify and move north-northwestwards and reach Gujarat coast on May 17 evening and cross Gujarat between Porbandar and Mahuva in Bhavnagar district early morning on May 18.

Porbandar, Amreli, Junagadh, Gir Somnath, Botad and Bhavnagar are likely to bear the brunt with the weather department predicting total destruction of thatched houses, extensive damage to kutcha houses and some damage to pucca houses.

“High tidal waves above astronomical tide are likely to inundate coastal areas — about 3 metres (m) over Junagadh, 1-2.5 m over Diu, Gir Somnath, Amreli, Bharuch, Bhavnagar, Ahmedabad, Anand, Surat and about 0.5 -1m over Devbhoomi Dwarka, Jamnagar, Porbandar, Kutch the remaining coastal districts of Gujarat during the time of landfall-between May 17 and 18,” IMD’s cyclone bulletin issued Sunday stated.

Also, some damage is expected in Devbhoomi Dwarka, Kutch, Jamnagar, Rajkot and Morbi, Valsad, Surat, Vadodara, Bharuch, Navsari, Anand and Ahmedabad.

As it progresses towards Gujarat coast, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued an alert of heavy rain very likely at isolated places in Valsad, Daman and Dadra Nagar Haveli from Monday. Heavy rainfall is expected across the state till May 20.

The CM said that all fishermen, save those on one fishing trawler, have been called back to the shore, while saltpan workers along the coast have been directed to move inland.

Evacuation from all coastal villages will start tomorrow morning and the government has given strict instructions to complete it by afternoon. The Central government has allotted 44 teams of NDRF, of which 26 have already arrived… Additionally, the government has kept 85 ICU-on-wheel class ambulances in Jamnagar, Bhavnagar, Junagadh Rajkot and Kutch on standby in case of emergency,” he added.

The IMD has also warned of squally wind of speed gradually reaching 150-160 kmph gusting to 175 kmph over northeast Arabian Sea, along and off Gujarat coast — Porbandar, Junagadh, Gir Somnath, Amreli, Bhavnagar — and 100 -120 kmph gusting to 135 kmph over Bharuch, Anand, South Ahmedabad, Botad, Surendranagar, 90 -100 kmph gusting to 120 kmph over Devbhoomi Dwarka, Jamnagar, Rajkot, Morbi districts of Gujarat early on May 18.

“All 1,300 Covid hospitals in the state will have power backup… and will do wind-proofing to ensure that gusty winds don’t damage their windows… Unlike Maharashtra, no patient will have to be shifted due to the cyclone. Maharashtra has set up temporary Covid hospitals in domes that are vulnerable to be blown away by strong winds. But Gujarat has none,” the CM said, adding that the one set by DRDO is also inside the convention hall of Gujarat University in Ahmedabad. Arrangements have also been made to ensure that operations at seven to eight oxygen plants in Saurashtra are not affected, he said.

“Gale wind of speed reaching 70-90 kmph gusting to 100 kmph is likely to prevail along and off Dadra, Nagar Haveli, Daman, Valsad, Navsari, Surat, Kheda districts from May 17 midnight till May 18 morning,” IMD regional director Manorama Mohanty said.

Light thunderstorm with lightning and surface wind of 30- 40 kmph accompanied with moderate rain is very likely at isolated places in Sabarkantha, Ahmedabad, Anand, Vadodara, Bharuch, Surat, Dang, Navsari, Valsad, Rajkot, Amreli, Bhavnagar, Gir Somnath, Kutch and Diu from Monday.

Rupani appealed to the civil society organisations to contact district collectors in Saurashtra and led a helping hand in evacuation of people. He said that team of road and building department and state forest department will keep roads clear of any trees that might get uprooted.

Energy Minister Saurabh Patel told media in Rajkot that of the 391 Covid hospitals in 12 districts of Saurashtra-Kutch regions, diesel power generator sets have been installed in 329 hospitals.

“Power generators will be installed at the remaining 72 hospitals by evening. Special teams have been formed to ens thature power supply to oxygen plants is not disrupted. We have identified 10 sub-stations of 132 to 200 kv (kilovolt) and 150 substation of 66 kv in these 12 districts as vulnerable to flooding where de-watering pumps have been installed to ensure continuous power supply,” said Patel, adding Paschim Gujarat Vij Company Limited, the state-government utility which distributes power in Saurashtra-Kutch, has formed 291 teams to meet any eventuality.

Vaccination suspended

The CM said the state government has decided to suspend Covid-19 vaccination drive on Monday and Tuesday as the health staff of the state will be put on high alert in view of the cyclone.

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