Cyclone Nilofar: About 30,000 to be evacuated from Wednesday

An estimated 30,000 people along coastal areas will be moved to safer places in Kutch district of Gujarat from Wednesday as the very severe cyclonic storm Nilofar hurtles towards the state and slams it by November 1 afternoon.

PTI| Last Updated: Oct 28, 2014, 22:12 PM IST

Ahmedabad: An estimated 30,000 people along coastal areas will be moved to safer places in Kutch district of Gujarat from Wednesday as the very severe cyclonic storm Nilofar hurtles towards the state and slams it by November 1 afternoon.

Taking precautionary measures in view of the approaching storm, the district collector of Kutch has asked the administration to initiate evacuation process in eight tehsils.

Nilofar -- as per the modified prediction of Indian Meteorological Department - is likely to have a landfall near Naliya village of Kutch district by November 1 afternoon against the earlier prediction of October 31.

"We have decided to evacuate around 30,000 people living in 128 villages of eight tehsils. All these villages are near the coast. Based on the final prediction of the Met department, we will start evacuation tomorrow," Kutch collector Mahendra Patel told PTI.

The evacuation will be carried out in tehsils of Abdasa (Naliya), Anjar, Bhachau, Bhuj, Gandhidham, Mandvi, Mundra and Nakhatrana.

"We are also working towards ensuring electricity supply during the cyclone. Villagers in other parts of the district have been asked to store water. We have called back school teachers and principals from Diwali vacation and asked them to keep school premises open to accommodate evacuees," said Patel.

Nilofar is currently positioned in West-Central Arabian Sea, about 1,110 km south-west of Naliya, the MeT department said.

"However, as the system would come closer to Gujarat coast, it would weaken and cross the coast as severe cyclonic storm," it added. The Met department has also asked the port authorities to hoist distant warning signal no 2 at all the ports.

"Nine teams of National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) will be deployed for rescue operations and they will be conducting operations in consultation with the State Reserve Police Force," state Relief Commissioner D N Pandey said.

"We have also asked the district collectors to take the

help of NCC, NSS and local NGOs," Pandey said.

About the plans for dealing with possible communication failures, he said the Centre had provided ten satellite phones. "Three out of the ten satellite phones will be used in Kutch region which is likely to be more affected," he added.

Asked about the fishermen who are still at sea, he said "according to the Fisheries Commissioner, around 400 fishermen have come back to the coast. But they are in queue as there is a problem of anchoring the boats. We have asked the Collector to deal with this situation.

"We urge the peole not to travel in the coastal regions of Gujarat including Kutch. We have also directed the district collectors to evacuate the tourists with the help of local police. No tourist will be permitted to travel in these areas during the severe cyclonic conditions," Pandey said.

Meanwhile, the state's chief secretary Varesh Sinha today held a high-level meeting through video-conference with collectors and other officials.

Sinha asked the officers to identify places to accommodate evacuees and to ensure supply of food, water, medicines and generators.

The government has also asked the administration to evacuate salt pan workers and shut down the salt pan works.

Regarding the workers at ports, power plants and large industries, the state government has asked the respective managements to implement their on-site and off-site plans to control the movement of workers.

Sinha also asked the officers to make sure that people do not travel to pilgrimage sites in the coastal areas.