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Over 50,000 evacuated in Gujarat, Daman ahead of cyclone


AHMEDABAD: Nearly 50,000 people living in coastal areas of South Gujarat and some 4,000 residents of the neighbouring Union Territory of Daman have so far been shifted to safer places ahead of the approaching cyclonic storm ‘Nisarga’, officials said on Wednesday.

Police have been deployed on all the beaches in Gujarat’s coastal belt and people have been asked to remain indoors, they said.

As many as 50,000 living near the coastline in South Gujarat have already been shifted to safer places while work is in progress to evacuate more people, Additional Chief Secretary, Revenue, Pankaj Kumar said.

The cyclone would have maximum impact on the coastal districts of Valsad and Navsari, followed Bharuch and Surat, he said.

“It is expected that the wind speed will remain between 100 to 110 kmph in Valsad and Navsari when the cyclone hits the coast between south Gujarat and north Maharashtra. All the fishermen have already been called back from the sea. Salt-pan workers along with shrimp farm workers have also been shifted to safer locations,” Kumar said in a statement.

Besides, some 4,000 people living close to the sea shore in the adjoining Union Territory of Daman have also been shifted to safer places, another official said.

The nearly 50,000 people evacuated so far in Gujarat include 32,000 from Valsad district alone.

While the cyclone is expected to cross the state coast in the afternoon, light rain started in most parts of Valsad and Navsari districts since morning.

“We have shifted nearly 32,000 people living close to the sea shore to temporary shelters. The weather is cloudy at present but winds have not started yet,” Valsad collector R R Raval said.

As many as 15 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and six teams of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) have been deployed at different locations to help local administration in relief and rescue works, Kumar said.

As a precautionary measure, about 236 large hoardings and 120 high mast lights have been removed from Surat, Valsad and other towns of coastal region, he said.

Around 250 ambulances and 170 emergency medical teams have been kept on stand-by in the South Gujarat region to address any eventuality, the official said.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has indicated that the cyclone may not make a landfall on the Gujarat coast.

However, it will have an impact in the form of gusty winds coupled with heavy rainfall in the coastal belt.

As per the latest IMD release, the cyclonic storm Nisarga over East Central Arabian Sea is currently around 460 km from Surat.

It will cross north Maharashtra and adjoining south Gujarat coast between Harihareshwar and Daman, close to Alibaug of Maharashtra during the afternoon, with a maximum sustained wind speed of 100 to 110 kmph, it said.

The state MeT Centre said the cyclone will cause heavy rain in several parts of South Gujarat on Wednesday and Thursday.

Barring the South Gujarat region, the cyclone will not have much impact in rest of the state, state MeT centre director Jayanta Sarkar said.

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