The coordinated efforts of the state and central governments in evacuating over one lakh people to shelter homes within a short span of three days prior to the landfall of Cyclone Biparjoy in Gujarat has proven instrumental in minimizing the impact of the cyclone, according to official sources. Fortunately, no casualties have been reported so far as a result of the cyclone.
Cyclone Biparjoy made landfall near Jakhau on the Kutch coast of Gujarat on Thursday evening, causing the felling of trees, disruption of electricity poles, and damage to houses.
In order to ensure effective preparedness, a state minister and a central minister were assigned to oversee the preparations in each of the nine districts of Gujarat, as stated by a senior official.
With the objective of achieving “zero casualties,” a comprehensive plan was developed to evacuate people residing within a 10-kilometer radius of the anticipated impact zone. The official explained that a meticulous assessment was carried out to identify the number of individuals residing within the 0-5-kilometer and 5-10-kilometer radius. In Kutch district alone, 122 villages were identified within the 0-10-kilometer range, while 72 villages fell within the 0-5-kilometer radius.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally assessed the situation and provided guidance to Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, ensuring effective coordination between the central and state governments.
“This serves as an exemplary model of disaster management,” the official remarked.
On June 11, Chief Minister Patel assigned ministers to oversee the preparations in each district of Gujarat. The prime minister emphasized the direct involvement of ministers from both levels of government to avert any untoward incidents, particularly in the Saurashtra region’s Gir-Somnath, Porbandar, Junagadh, Jamnagar, and Kutch districts, which were expected to bear the brunt of the cyclone’s impact.
The cyclone affected eight coastal districts in Gujarat.
The official further mentioned that 707 babies were born in the shelter homes during the evacuation process.
The cyclone’s impact was particularly significant in the coastal regions of Kutch, which are home to ports such as Kandla, Mundra, Mandvi, and the Jakhau Fisheries Port.
“Ensuring the safety of laborers and the clearance of ships from the port area were prioritized. Meetings were conducted with stakeholders to coordinate the evacuation efforts,” explained the official, given the bustling commercial activity and presence of numerous trucks and ships in these ports.
Convincing coastal residents to relocate to designated shelter homes presented another significant challenge. The official highlighted that public representatives from the block panchayat level to central ministers visited villages to counsel and educate residents about the severity of the situation. Through this collective effort, over 1.08 lakh people were successfully evacuated to safe shelter homes within three days, from June 12 to 14.
The administration also extended efforts to safeguard the well-being of animals, which play a vital role in the region’s economy. Over two lakh animals were safely relocated to higher ground from the coastal areas of Kutch to protect them from the cyclone’s impact.
According to the India Meteorological Department, the depression resulting from the remnants of the cyclonic storm has moved east-northeastwards over central parts of south Rajasthan and its surroundings at a speed of 10 kilometers per hour. It is expected to continue its east-northeastward movement and maintain its intensity as a depression over the next 12 hours, as stated by the weather office.