Cyclone Biparjoy updates: Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel over the phone and took stock of the situation.
Destructive cyclone Biparjoy, which packed high wind speeds and brought heavy rain, caused complete disruption of life in Gujarat’s Kutch district on Thursday as trees were uprooted in large numbers, power failure was reported in many areas, but it began weakening in the early hours of Friday as it moved north. At least 23 people were also injured as the ‘very severe’ cyclonic storm made landfall in Gujarat’s coastal areas on Thursday evening, the National Disaster Response Force or NDRF said, adding that two persons were killed before the cyclone made landfall.
Cyclone Biparjoy lay centred over the Saurashtra-Kutch region, 30 km north of Naliya till 2.30am. It was expected to move northeastwards and weaken into a cyclonic storm by early morning on Friday, and into a depression by the same evening over south Rajasthan, the India Meteorological Department or IMD said.
Top updates on Cyclone Biparjoy in Gujarat and Pakistan
1. Biparjoy made landfall near Jakhau as a very severe cyclonic storm around 6.30 pm on Thursday with wind speeds of 115 to 125 kmph gusting upto 140 kmph.
2. Strong winds broke electric wires and poles, causing a power outage in 45 villages of Maliya tehsil. Power has been restored in 11 villages. Over 300 electric poles have been broken in the coastal rural and desert areas. The Paschim Gujarat Vij Company Ltd. (PGVCL) is working to restore power to the rest of the rural areas as soon as possible, J C Goswami, executive engineer, PGVCL in Morbi told news agency ANI.
3. Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Gujarat chief minister Bhupendra Patel over the phone and took stock of the situation. PM Modi also asked about the details of the safety arrangements for wild animals including lions in Gir Forest.
4. The cyclonic storm crossed the coastline near Jakhau Port Thursday evening, but started losing force several hours later and at 2:30am on Friday was packing 100 kilometres per hour winds with gusts up to 110 km/hour, the IMD said.
5. Alok Singh, relief commissioner of Gujarat, said 24 animals have been killed, 524 trees have fallen, and electric poles have also fallen in some places due to which there is no electricity in 940 villages.
6. A total power blackout was witnessed in Mandvi town. Many trees were uprooted on Jakhau-Mandvi road as well as in Mandvi town due to the strong winds. “No casualties have been reported so far,” district collector Amit Arora said.
7. Around 99 trains running through, originating or terminating in Biparjoy-affected areas of Gujarat, will remain cancelled or short-terminated, THE Western Railway said.
8. The Gujarat government said around 1 lakh people had relocated from coastal and low-lying areas to shelter.
9. Pakistan’s climate change minister Sherry Rehman said around 82,000 people had been moved from southeastern coastal areas in the face of “a cyclone the likes of which Pakistan has never experienced.”
10. Storm surges were expected to reach four metres, with flooding possible in Karachi – home to about 20 million people.