Gujarat, Diu brace for 'very severe' Cyclone Vayu; Army, IAF on standby

An alert has been sounded in 10 districts of Gujarat as wind speeds are likely to touch 170 km per hour. 

NEW DELHI/AHMEDABAD: At least 3.1 lakh persons were evacuated from low-lying areas in Gujarat and Diu on Wednesday, hours ahead of the scheduled landfall of Cyclone Vayu. According to the latest weather report, Cyclone Vayu has already turned into a 'very severe cyclonic storm' and has changed its course slightly. It is now likely to hit Gujarat coast between Veraval in the south and Dwarka in the west on Thursday (June 13) afternoon.

Six persons have already lost their lives in Gujarat due to the cyclone. Two people died in Narmada and two in Tapi, while one person died in Dang and one in Gandhinagar. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) been has pre-positioned 52 teams equipped with boats, tree-cutters, telecom equipments etc. Ten columns of the Indian Army and warships and aircraft of the Indian Navy have been kept on stand-by.

Taking to Twitter, Home Minister Amit Shah shared, “Gujarat has evacuated about 3 lakh people and Diu has evacuated over 10,000 people from low-lying areas to safer places...(the) MHA is in continuous touch with state govts/UT and central agencies. The NDRF has pre-positioned 52 teams equipped with boats, tree-cutters, telecom equipments etc.”

Union Earth Sciences Minister Harsh Vardhan also took to Twitter to share that Cyclone Vayu will hit the Gujarat coast with a wind speed of 155-156 kilometres per hour. "I pray for the well-being of all families which may be impacted by #CycloneVayu, expected to hit tom with a wind speed of 155-156kmph on June 13 afternoon. @moesgoi officials are in regular touch providing timely alerts. Below is a microwave image of VAYU cyclone @CMOGuj @moesgoi," Vardhan tweeted along with satellite images of the storm.

Over 400 flights were affected due to bad weather caused by the Cyclone Vayu. In Mumbai alone, 194 departing flights and 192 arrivals were delayed. In Gujarat, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) suspended flight operations at AAI airports in Porbandar, Diu, Bhavnagar, Keshod and Kandla from 12 midnight Thursday to 12 midnight Friday.

The Western Railway also terminated (both complete and partial) the train service operations. Seventy mainline trains were cancelled while 28 other were short terminated as a precautionary measure in the cyclone-prone areas. “In addition to this, various safety and security precautions are also being taken by Western Railway for train passengers of these prone areas under the jurisdiction of WR i.e. Veraval, Okha, Porbandar, Bhavnagar, Bhuj and Gandhidham, etc,” it said in a notification.

Several parts along the Maharashtra and Goa coast have already been witnessing strong winds and rains. The Maharashtra government shut down all beaches in Konkan region for public on June 12 and 13 in wake of Cylone Vayu. These beaches are — Palgahar, Thane, Mumbai (city/suburban), Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg.

Meanwhile, an alert has been sounded in 10 districts of Gujarat as wind speeds are likely to touch 170 km per hour. 

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