In view of Cyclone Vayu, which is likely to hit the Gujarat coast on Thursday morning, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has been kept on high alert.
With the warning of a heavy rainfall in parts of Gujarat, the state government has chose to deploy NDRF personnel in coastal areas of Saurashtra and Kutch from Tuesday morning.
"We have identified 2.91 lakh (291,000) people living in low-lying areas of 10 coastal districts who will be evacuated by Wednesday afternoon", Singh said after an emergency meeting. 34 teams of the Indian Army have already been put on standby. It is estimated that close to three lakh people will be taken out from areas considered risky and that 700 shelter homes have been prepared across the state. After the review, the Home minister directed the senior officials to take every possible measure for the safety of people. They were also tasked with ensuring that all essential services be restored immediately in the event they incur any damage. This will result in rough seas along and off the coast of Kerala, Karnataka, south Maharashtra, and south Gujarat. Shah also gave instruction for round the clock functioning of control rooms.
The cyclonic storm formed over the east-central Arabian Sea at 11.30pm on Monday and lay centered in the sea about 490km south-southwest of Mumbai and 630km almost south of Veraval in Gujarat at 11.30am on Tuesday, according to the latest forecast by the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
It is likely to cause heavy rainfall in the coastal districts of Gujarat with storm surge with a height of about 1.0- 1.5 m above the astronomical tides likely to inundate the low lying coastal areas of Kutch, Devbhoomi Dwarka, Porbandar, Junagarh, Diu, Gir Somnath, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts at the time of landfall. We have also roped in Army, Navy, Coast Guard and BSF units. The IMD has been issuing regular bulletins since April 9 to all the states concerned.
Thunderstorm and lightning accompanied by winds up to 40-50 kmph are also very likely to occur at isolated places in the districts of North Gujarat region namely, Banaskantha and Sabarkantha, the weather agency forecast for June 13. "I will talk to Odisha CS (chief secretary) about his experience and what could be implemented in case the need arises here in Gujarat", he said.
He said people were being made aware about the eventualities through public address systems, SMS and Whatsapp messages.
A spokesman for Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd said it was preparing to move employees at two ports it runs in the state to safer areas. Senior officers from the ministries of home, shipping, railways, power, telecommunications, defence, fisheries, IMD, NDMA and NDRF attended the meeting.