Gujarat Biparjoy-ready

Gujarat Biparjoy-ready

50,000 people evacuated to safer places

Ahmedabad/ Mandvi/New Delhi: As powerful cyclone 'Biparjoy' approaches the Gujarat coast, authorities have evacuated 50,000 people from vulnerable areas in a massive operation and deployed disaster management personnel for relief and rescue measures in the state set to be most impacted by the second storm to hit it in just two years, officials said on Wednesday.

With the cyclone, expected to make landfall near Jakhau port in Kutch district on Thursday evening, barrelling towards the Gujarat coast, parts of the Saurashtra-Kutch region received heavy rains accompanied by strong winds. Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel took stock of the situation with senior officers, while at the central level, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh separately reviewed the preparedness to deal with the impact of the cyclone.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said Biparjoy was set to change the path on Wednesday and begin moving north-eastwards towards Kutch and Saurashtra but it will still have landfall as a very severe cyclonic storm with wind speed ranging from 125-135 kmph, gusting to 145 kmph from morning to evening on Thursday.

The Gujarat government has undertaken a massive exercise to evacuate people living in villages within a 10 km radius of the coast, with a special focus on Kutch which is likely to be worst affected by the cyclone, and move them to temporary shelters. The evacuation is in progress and is expected to be completed by Wednesday evening, officials said. "The cyclone is nearly 290 km away from Kutch at present. As a precautionary measure, we have already shifted nearly 50,000 people living in coastal areas to temporary shelters. The evacuation process is still on and the remaining 5,000 persons will be shifted by this evening to safer places" said State Commissioner of Relief, Alok Kumar Pandey.

Of the 50,000-odd evacuees, nearly 18,000 people were shifted to shelters in Kutch district while others were evacuated from Junagadh, Jamnagar, Porbandar, Devbhumi Dwarka, Morbi and Rajkot, Pandey told reporters in Gandhinagar.

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