Sunday, May 27, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Cyclone may hit Gujarat today

The severe cyclonic storm over central Arabian sea which is slowly moving towards Gujrat on Saturday.
The severe cyclonic storm over central Arabian sea, which is slowly moving towards Gujrat on Saturday. — PTI photo

Ahmedabad, May 26
Although a “very severe” cyclonic storm threatening Gujarat has weakened, the Army continues to be on high alert and the people are being evacuated from vulnerable areas.

As against the earlier projection of the storm likely to hit Gujarat early tomorrow, the meteorological department in its latest analysis said it was now expected to hit the state tomorrow night or in the morning of May 28.

Meanwhile, the “very severe” cyclonic storm over the central Arabian Sea which weakened into a “severe” one, was located around 500 kms south south-west of Porbandar. It might further weaken and recurve and cross Gujarat coast between Naliya and Veraval, the Pune Met office said.

Gale speeds reaching 60 to 70 kmph, accompanied by heavy to very heavy rains may lash the north Konkan and Gujarat coast by tomorrow evening, it said adding that these gales might strengthen to 100 to 120 kmph in the central area of the storm around the time of hitting the land.

Tidal waves have washed away 300 houses along the coastal areas of Valsad and Surat districts since yesterday. However the affected villagers were shifted to safer places, official sources said. Round-the-clock control room, equipped with satellite phones, had been set up in coastal districts, they said, adding that two naval ships have already been kept ready with necessary relief material.

NEW DELHI: Indian Air Force aircraft, naval ships and 12 columns of the Army are ready to swing into action for rescue and relief operations in the Gujarat coast.

A spokesman here said the Ministry of Defence was closely monitoring the movement of the cyclone in the Arabian Sea in close consultation with the Meteorlogical Department to ensure that all preparations to meet the contingencies are in place.

Also, all precautionary measures have been taken to minimise the loss to defence assets in the region. Special measures have been taken at the air base in Naliya. Twelve columns from 11 Division are on standby in Ahmedabad to provide relief. The Brigade headquarters at Jamnagar and Bhuj have been put on alert with the request that heavy engineering equipment must be kept in readiness.

The spokesman said 12 aircraft and helicopters, including AN-32, MI-8 and Chetaks are on “hot” standby and in addition all medium and heavy lift aircraft have been told to be ready to fly in relief. PTI, UNI

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