WHILE the impact of Cyclone Nisarga was lesser than anticipated, with Pune city and rural areas experiencing moderate rainfall and strong winds, two deaths, several injuries and partial damage to nearly 140 households across Pune district were reported on Wednesday.
A 65-year-old woman, identified as Manjabai Navale, died and three members of her family were injured in Vahagaon Village in Khed tehsil, after a wall and a portion of the roof of their house caved in.
In another incident, Prakash Mokar (52), of Mokarwadi in Haveli tehsil, died after he was critically injured while trying to hold on to tin sheets on his roof, which were being blown away due to strong winds.
Three cattle deaths were also reported in rural areas.
Gusty winds, which weren’t as devastatingly strong as feared, led to uprooting of many trees in rural areas. As many as 105 houses and 36 shanties in various parts of the district, mainly Maval and Mulshi, were damaged partially.
Ayush Prasad, chief executive officer of Pune Zilla Parishad, said authorities had started preparations soon after the India Meteorological Department announced that a low-pressure area had formed in the Arabian Sea and it may lead to a cyclone in western parts of Maharashtra and Gujarat.
“We identified all the risky zones which require extra attention. These were areas near in the Konkan belt and in Bhor, Mulshi, Maval and Malshej ghats, which could experience high wind velocity due to tunneling effect. Another concern was landslide-prone villages, which were alerted and the residents were shifted to safer structures. The third concern was weaker structures which could collapse due to rain and winds. Such structures were identified in each area,” said Prasad.
The administration shifted 30 people in Mulshi, who were living in areas that are prone to landslides.
Zilla Parishad officers were deployed to man ambulance and police helplines, to hasten the response to an emergency situation. These included officers from the Extension Department, Circle Officers and others who were appointed to supervise the situation in gram panchayats.
“In network shadow areas in Bhor and Velha tehsil, sub-divisional officials created a communication system like the one set up during an election. People were made to stay back in respective headquarter locations. Each tehsil had about five ambulance and cranes to help in case of incidents of tree fall or wall collapse. When uprooted trees blocked the roads, immediate road clearing was done using these cranes,” said Prasad.
Officials said incidents of tin sheds flying off houses and trees getting uprooted were reported from several areas.
“The wind velocity wasn’t too high… the average was about 65 to 70 mph… so, the tins were not thrown to far off places… in most of these cases, there was no loss of the item, per se. Occupants of such houses were shifted to safer houses. Now we are doing damage assessment and based on the result of the exercise, we will undertake support and corrective measures,” said Prasad.
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