Gandhinagar, Friday: The Biparjoy cyclone hit the coast of Gujarat last night. i.e on 15th June 2023. The cyclone hit the Jhakhau coast in Kutch with turbulent winds and rain. Its effects were felt in the adjoining areas as well. However, Gujarat was able to avert major loss of life and property owing to preparedness and advance planning by the state government.
Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Bhupendra Patel thanked Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and Union Home and Co-operation Minister Shri Amit Shah for the support from Union Government.
Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had conducted a high-level meeting, in advance, to assess the evolving situation due to the cyclone in Gujarat. The PM had conversations with the CM to obtain first hand information related to the state’s preparations in the face of the cyclone.
Hon’ble Union Home Minister Shri Amit Shah interacted virtually with concerned officers from the Government of India, the Government of Gujarat, and district collectors to assure them of necessary support.
The Union Government assured complete support to Gujarat. They also sent in a team of ministers to inspect and assess the rescue and rehabilitation measures in Gujarat.
Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Bhupendra Patel said, “The administration was prepared against the impending cyclone. As a result, we were able to avoid major loss of life and property. “We have been able to come out of this crisis due to precautionary measures and timely actions taken by the state government”.
Hon’ble Chief Minister praised the hard work and effort of ministers, departments, district administration, and senior officials and thanked Team Gujarat.
Hon’ble Chief Minister had prepared the state and district administrations for detailed and advanced planning to deal with this natural calamity since the day it was predicted.
For the last four days, Hon’ble Chief Minister conducted review meetings at the State Emergency Operation Center in Gandhinagar to obtain first hand information about the coastal districts of the state. The CM went to the SEOC today morning to obtain details on the effects of the cyclone in Gujarat, especially on the coastal districts, and also took stock of the damage caused by the cyclone.
The Chief Minister has given instructions to the administration in the affected areas to focus on rescue and relief operations to restore normalcy. Within a few hours of the storm, the state administration was on its toes to restore electricity, water supply, repair roads, etc.
Preparations and Steps taken by the Government:
· Hon’ble Chief Minister held an emergency review meeting, at the State Emergency Operation Center in Gandhinagar, with senior officials of the government regarding the cyclone and instructed all district administration to be on standby. He also reviewed micro-arrangements for the evacuation of people from various districts.
· More than 1,08,000 people were evacuated to safer locations under the guidance of the Chief Minister. This included 10,918 children, 5070 elderly and 1152 pregnant women.
· 50 people, who were stuck in the sea, were airlifted by Indian Coast Guards. In Dwarka, the Indian Coast Guards rescued 50 people amidst the raging sea. The evacuated people were safely brought to the Okha operation center of the Indian Coast Guards.
· Indian Air Force and Indian Army were on standby for necessary support.
· 1808 shelter homes were immediately built to ensure the safety of people in affected areas. 56,770 people were shifted to these shelter homes.
· Fishermen and salt pan workers returned safely and more than 21,000 thousand boats were anchored.
· 19 NDRF teams were deployed in 9 coastal districts of Gujarat namely Kutch, Devbhoomi Dwarka, Jamnagar, Morbi, Porbandar, Gir Somnath, Junagadh, Rajkot and Valsad, and 1 at Diu (Union Territory).
· 12 SDRF troops were stationed in 7 coastal districts (Kutch, Devbhoomi Dwarka, Jamnagar, Morbi, Porbandar, Gir Somnath, Junagadh) and Patan and Banaskantha. 1 SDRF troop was kept reserved in Surat.
· The Chief Minister was continuously monitoring the evolving situation due to the cyclone and gave necessary instructions to the district administration from the control room. He got minute-to-minute details by holding comprehensive meetings with the Chief Secretary and senior secretaries of concerned departments of the state government.
Informing Citizens through an Effective Communication Plan
Even before the cyclone hit, the Government of Gujarat’s Information Department had sent Chief Minister’s voice message (OBD – Outbound Dialling) to 65 lakh mobile phone users in 6 potentially affected districts of the state from 13 June till date. The voice message contained details of the work done by the state government and safety measures to be taken.
Similarly, the Chief Minister’s appeal to the public was broadcast to around 65 lakh mobile holders, and five other such messages, including text messages before the cyclone, phone numbers of the control room in affected districts and television commercials via WhatsApp video messages were sent.
The state government also issued a helpline number (079-232-51900). All 33 districts of the state were connected with the GSWAN telephone hotline. Ham radio stations were set up in Kutch, Jamnagar, Porbandar, Devbhoomi Dwarka, Morbi, and Rajkot districts, and mobile service providers like Jio, BSNL, Vodafone etc were instructed to keep adequate power backup in 743 towers.
The Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority (GSDMA) also coordinated with the Information Department to ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ during the cyclone to citizens through TV commercials, radio, and newspaper advertisements.
Gujarat Police is using satellite phones and wireless networks to ensure uninterrupted communication.
Efforts by the District Administration
The in-charge ministers, secretaries as well as officials and employees of the district administration had successfully evacuated people to safer locations before the cyclone. The District administrations worked on a war footing to quickly restore damaged electricity, communication, water supply, and transport.
Preparedness by the Health Department
1005 medical teams were operating in the potentially affected areas of the state during the cyclone. A total of 504 ambulances including 202 ‘108 ambulances’ and 302 government ambulances were dedicated to cater to the affected people. Apart from this, 3851 critical beds were also arranged in potentially affected areas. A total of 197 DG sets were provided in such areas.
The state’s Health Department ensured the complete provision of medicines and logistics in the affected areas. All hospitals in the affected districts were equipped with 100% diesel generators to ensure uninterrupted medical services.
The department has also compiled a list of pregnant women in the affected areas, including their expected delivery dates, to facilitate timely and appropriate care. 1152 pregnant women were shifted to safer locations.
Preparedness by Energy and Roads Departments
Paschim Gujarat Vij Company Limited (PGVCL), under Energy Department, had deployed 1127 teams across 3,751 villages in the eight districts of Saurashtra, while Gujarat Energy Transmission Corporation Limited (GETCO) had stationed 51 teams at 714 substations. Furthermore, 889 PGVCL teams and 81 GETCO teams were put on standby mode in areas near to affected districts.
Repairing of damaged roads by Roads and Buildings Department
The Roads and Buildings Department had stationed 132 teams equipped with necessary things. These teams are working with 328 JCBs, 276 dumpers, 204 tractors, 60 loaders, and 234 other equipment to carry out repair work on affected roads. In addition, 1137 trees have been removed from 263 roads in the affected districts.
Work done by the Urban Development Department
As many as 4317 hoardings were removed from 8 districts likely to be affected as a precautionary measure to avoid loss of life and property due to heavy rains and winds because of the cyclone. Apart from that, work related to the restoration of affected electricity poles, damaged roads, power cut areas, and damaged houses is being done.
Removal of uprooted trees by the Forest Department
The state forest department had deployed 237 teams in the potentially affected districts to remove uprooted trees. These teams have removed a total of 581 uprooted trees from the roads since the onset of the cyclone.
Apart from this, the forest department also took necessary precautionary measures to protect the wildlife from the impact of Cyclone Biparjoy. A total of 184 teams were strategically positioned for rescue, rapid action, and removal of fallen trees in the Asiatic Lion Zone. 13 operational teams and 6 special wildlife rescue teams with necessary equipment were also deployed in the Kutch sanctuary area.
Co-ordination with Indian Meteorological Department
The Gujarat Government was in constant touch with the officials of the Indian Meteorological Department and received up-to-date information about the trajectory of the cyclone.
The state’s police force, under the Home Department, is also keeping a constant watch on the public order to maintain law and order.
Gujarat has faced several natural calamities from time to time. However, the state has always managed to emerge safely out of such a crisis. This time too, Gujarat and its people, with preparedness and timely actions, were successful in reducing the impact of cyclone Biparjoy. The state has, once again, provided an excellent example of disaster management.
Source: Information Department, Gujarat