The landfall process of Cyclone Biparjoy has started in the Saurashtra and Kutch regions of Gujarat and will continue till midnight, the India Meteorological Department said on Thursday evening.
“The cyclone is now located about 70 kilometres away from Jakhau port in the Arabian Sea,” IMD Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said, according to ANI. “The storm is moving at a speed of about 15 kmph.”
The weather department said it will hit the coast as a very severe cyclonic storm, with wind speed reaching 125 to 135 kilometres per hour.
Isolated places in the districts of Kutch, Devbhumi Dwarka and Jamnagar are likely to witness extremely heavy rainfall due to the cyclone, the weather department said.
In the wake of the cyclone, authorities in Gujarat have evacuated 94,427 persons to government shelters, reported PTI.
“Of 94,427 persons evacuated so far, 46,800 were evacuated in Kutch district, followed by 10,749 in Devbhumi Dwarka, 9,942 in Jamnagar, 9,243 in Morbi, 6,822 in Rajkot, 4,864 in Junagadh, 4,379 in Porbandar and 1,605 in Gir Somnath district,” the state government said.
State Health Minister Rushikesh Patel said that 72 villages are located within 5 kilometres from the coast in Kutch, and another 48 villages are between 5 kilometres and 10 kilometres from the sea shore. “We have evacuated around 40,000 people from these coastal villages,” he said.
Fifteen teams of the National Disaster Response Force, 12 units of the State Disaster Response Force, 115 teams of the road and building department and 397 teams of the electricity department have been put in place in the coastal districts.
More than 50 trains have been cancelled, short-terminated or short-originated, according to The Hindu. Buses belonging to the Gujarat State Road Transport Service have also been cancelled in some districts.
The Dwarkadhish temple in Devbhumi Dwarka and Somnath temple in Gir Somnath district will be closed on Thursday.
Biparjoy, meaning disaster or calamity in Bengali, is expected to be the first cyclone that will hit Gujarat in June in 25 years. In June 1998, an extremely severe cyclone had hit coastal areas in Kutch and Saurashtra, leaving nearly 3,000 dead.
62,000 evacuated in Pakistan
The authorities in Pakistan have evacuated 64,107 persons from high-risk areas in view of the cyclone, Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon said. They have been shifted to 75 relief camps, according to The Express Tribune.
Those evacuated have been taken to government schools and hospitals. Evacuations have taken place in the districts of Thatta, Keti Bundar, Sujawal, Badin, Umerkot, Tharparkar, Shaheed Benazirabad, Tando Muhammad Khan, Tando Allahyar and Sanghar, the minister said.
Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s federal minister for climate change and environment, said that Karachi was not under immediate threat, but added that emergency measures were being taken to deal with rain and strong winds.