Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel held a meeting at the State Emergency Operations Center in Gandhinagar on Friday to take stock of the situation in the state in the wake of Cyclone Biparjoy’s landfall. The Gujarat CM ordered the District Collectors of affected areas to conduct surveys to assess the damage in their districts.
According to IMD officials, the Very Severe Cyclonic Storm (VSCS) hit the Kutch coast on Thursday night around 10:30-11:30 pm, about 10 km north of Jakhau Port. It has since weakened into a Severe Cyclonic Storm (SCS) and is predicted to weaken further over the next few hours. The morning after the landfall continued to show high-speed winds, heavy rainfall and rough sea conditions in various districts of Gujarat. Due to strong winds, the districts experienced damage in terms of infrastructure and the falling of electric poles and trees.
Visuals of heavy rains, high tide, waterlogging, and overflowing were seen at Gomti Ghat (Dwarka), Mandvi (Kutch), and Bhuj. Even other parts of the west coast, including Mumbai, experienced rough sea conditions – where tides as high as 4.27 m have been predicted by the state meteorological department. High-speed winds uprooted trees and caused road blockages and property damage in areas like Bhuj, Mandvi, Dwarka, Jamnagar, Lakhpat, Kutch district, and Naliya.
NDRF reports showed that atleast 23 people had been injured and 24 animal lives were lost as an impact of the landfall. Two people were killed before the landfall, and no human deaths have been reported thereafter. Meanwhile, around 108208 people were evacuated safely from affected districts by the district authority, NDRF, SDRF, Indian Armed Force and other official teams. The Gujarat Health Minister, Rushikesh Patel, said, “There is no report of loss of human lives in the Kachchh district, till now. Currently, Mundra, Jakhua, Koteshwar, Lakphat and Naliya are witnessing high windspeed and rainfall. Rainfall is also expected in parts of south Rajasthan due to the cyclone Biparjoy. Road clearance work is underway in many parts of the coastal districts.”
Over 594 trees and electric poles fell due to the impacts of the storm according to officials. The fallen poles caused power outages in over 940 villages in Gujarat. District officials and PGVCL (Paschim Gujarat Vij Company Limited) teams were seen working to restore the power. According to officials, 597 teams were deployed, and power has been restored in the affected villages.
NDRF teams in Bhuj, Jamnagar, Dwarka, Naliya and Kutch were seen employing the use of earthmoving machines and other resources to clear the uprooted trees and damage from the roads, to restore transportation. Additionally, a team in Dwarka rescued two stranded individuals from the low-lying areas of Rupen Bandar. State and district officials stated that several disaster response, restoration, rescue, and relief teams were prepared to be on standby amidst the circumstances of the storm. Apart from this, 20 teams from the Health Department are also active all over the state.
According to the latest IMD bulletin, the cyclone is currently centered about 30 km from Bhuj. It is predicted to weaken into a deep depression over Saurashtra-Kutch, southern Rajasthan and adjoining areas by Friday evening. The State Meteorological Department has issued an alert for rainfall for Saturday as well. Rainfall and wind warnings have been issued throughout the state, with certain heavy impact areas on alert. “Cyclone Biparjoy has moved east-northeastwards and is centered 30 km from Bhuj in Gujarat. By evening, it will convert into a deep depression over Saurashtra and Kutch and adjoining areas with wind speed 50-60 kmph gusting to 70 kmph”, said IMD.