Dangerous Cyclone Vayu hours away from Gujarat...Army, Air Force, Coast Guard ready for challenge

Ahmedabad, June 12:  As the "very severe" cyclonic storm 'Vayu' is inching closer to Gujarat coast and expected to make a landfall Thursday, the Army, the Air Force, and the NDRF teams are deployed and put on standby for rescue and relief operations along the coastal districts.

The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has also deployed ships and aircraft to enable search and rescue post the landfall of the cyclonic storm.

A total of ten columns of the Army each having a strength of about 70 persons -- have been deployed in Jamnagar, Gir, Dwarka, Porbandar, Jamnagar, Somnath, Morbi, Bhavnagar, Rajkot and Amreli, while another 24 columns have been put on standby to carry out rescue and relief operations, a defence release said Wednesday.

The IAF has also positioned the medium lift and light utility helicopters at nodal points in the state to undertake the disaster relief operations.

A highly mobile deployable radar has been placed at a high state of readiness at Gandhinagar to channelise helicopter operations towards relief and evacuation and establish communication with control centers, the IAF said.

"Mobile communication vehicles have also been positioned at nodal points and communication support groups have also been formulated at the air bases in Gujarat to handle potential contingencies," the South Western Air Command headquarters of the Indian Air Force said.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has deployed 40 teams along the coastal areas of the state and Diu in view of the anticipated landfall of the cyclonic storm. So far, more than 74,000 people have been relocated from the affected coastal areas.

"Thirty six teams have been pre-positioned/deployed at Kutch, Morbi, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Dwarka, Porbandar, Gir Somnath, Amreli, Junagarh, Bhavnagar, Vadodara, Valsad, Surat and Gandhinagar, while four teams have been pre-positioned at Diu for prompt response," the NDRF said.

"In addition, six teams each are being airlifted from Patna airport and INS Rajali to Gujarat. This will raise the number to 52 (NDRF) teams in Gujarat (47 teams) and Diu (5 teams) for assisting the local administration in rescue and relief work," it said.

The ICG has dispersed its ships and aircraft at various places to enable search and rescue post the landfall.

"We have positioned our aircraft at Daman and Ahmadabad and the ships at Mundra, Okha and Jakhau. A ship from the western region has also been diverted to North West region for the post-cyclone landfall for providing search and rescue requirement and other emergency developing at sea off the Saurashtra and Kutch region," it said.

The ships and aircraft have been directed to be prepared for any oil spill response by merchant ships in the region," the ICG said.

Ahead of the expected landfall of the storm, the state government has started large scale evacuation of around 3 lakh people from low-lying areas in Saurashtra and Kutch and those living near the coast.

As per the latest projections, "Vayu" is intensified into a "very severe cyclonic storm".

PTI

Photo: Google