Ahmedabad: Bringing relief for Gujarat, Cyclone Vayu on Thursday began moving away from the State coast, even as the danger of heavy winds and rainfall continued, officials said here.
State authorities have already evacuated three lakh people from low-lying areas near the coast to safer places, an official said.
Heavy rains which lashed the coastal areas were likely to continue, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
“The cyclone is likely to move north-northwestwards for some time and then northwestwards, skirting the Saurashtra coast, affecting Gir Somnath, Diu, Junagarh, Porbandar and Devbhoomi Dwarka with wind speed of 90-100 km/h gusting to 110 km/h during the next 12 hours,” the IMD said in a release issued at 5 pm Thursday.
Pankaj Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary, said earlier that though the IMD has informed that the cyclone has changed its course, “it may still cause heavy winds and rains, and so we are still on stand-by mode“.
The cyclone is 110 km from Veraval to the south-west and 150 km from Porbandar to the south and is moving towards the north, crossing over Saurashtra, he said.
A Coast Guard official at Porbandar said the next 50- 60 hours will be very important, adding fishermen and coastal residents were requested to shift to safer places if they had not done so yet.
Besides taking help of the armed forces and the Coast Guard, the State government has deployed 33 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) (each having 90 to 100 personnel) and nine teams of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) in 10 coastal districts of the State, he said.
In addition, 11 columns of the Indian Army (each having nearly 70 personnel), two companies of the Border Security Force, 14 companies of the State Reserve Police and 300 commandos are deployed at different locations in the Kutch and Saurashtra areas.
The Gujarat government on Wednesday announced that operations at all the ports and airports situated near the coastline were halted for the time being.
The Railways has cancelled 86 trains and short terminated 37 others due to cyclone Vayu, officials said.
Western Railway said the cancellations were made as a precaution even though the cyclone changed its course and is unlikely to make landfall in Gujarat. However, it will cause heavy rain in several coastal districts of the State.
Since all the airports in Kutch and Saurashtra have been asked to shut their operations completely, flights to these destinations from the Ahmedabad airport stand cancelled.
A message from Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday:
Praying for the safety and well-being of all those affected by Cyclone Vayu.
The Government and local agencies are providing real-time information, which I urge those in affected areas to closely follow.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 12, 2019