New Delhi: Cyclone Vayu is likely to make landfall in Gujarat on Thursday afternoon, with 10 districts in the state put on high alert. On Wednesday, cyclone Vayu got more intense with forecasts revising its wind speed up to 155 km-165 km per hour and gusting at 180 km when it makes landfall.

“Cyclone Vayu has turned ‘very severe’ and its impact is expected to remain strong for 24 hours even after its landfall Thursday,” an official said.

Taking stock of the situation, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) had issued a red alert for entire Gujarat, Maharashtra coastline, and isolated places of Saurashtra and Kutch region for June 12-13.

According to the IMD, the cyclone, changing its course a bit, could now make landfall between Dwarka and Veraval on the Saurashtra coast.

Preparedness

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani held a meeting with senior officials of the state, officers from the Army & NDRF and District Magistrates, in Gandhinagar. He said, “As many as 47 troops of NDRF have reached Gujarat, 5-6 more teams will reach by morning. Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard have taken their positions. State Disaster Management is at work. Police patrolling will be done throughout the night so that no one is left in the lower regions.”

State Revenue department Additional Chief Secretary Pankaj Kumar said, “More than 500 villages in the coastal region have been evacuated, 2.15 lakh people have been shifted to shelters.” A police patrol was also planned from midnight.

Meanwhile, Home Minister Amit Shah said that authorities have evacuated about 3.1 lakh people living in the low-lying areas. “Gujarat has evacuated about 3 lakh people and Diu has evacuated over 10,000 people from low-lying areas to safer places…(the) MHA is in continuous touch with state govts/UT and central agencies. The NDRF has pre-positioned 52 teams equipped with boats, tree-cutters, telecom equipment etc,” Shah tweeted.

Flight cancelled, educational institutions shut

Flight operations from Ahmedabad’s Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport to Porbandar, Diu, Kandla, Mundra and Bhavnagar in the Saurashtra have been cancelled for Thursday, while all educational institutions have been shut and tourists on the Gujarat coast asked to steer out at the earliest, officials said.

Rail Services Hit

Railways has cancelled 40 trains and it will short-terminate 28 others, the Western Railways said Wednesday. Veraval-Amreli Passenger, Amreli-Junagadh, Delvada-Veraval are some of the trains that have been cancelled on Wednesday and Thursday.

The Western Railway has also decided to run relief special trains. Two such evacuation special trains are scheduled to be run in Rajkot division and one in Bhavnagar division to clear passengers of the coastal area affected by the cyclone.

The first special train ran from Okha at 6 pm on Wednesday for Rajkot with 11 coaches and the second special train with 20 coaches ran from Okha to Ahmedabad at 8.05 PM.

The third special train left from Veraval to Ahmedabad with 11 coaches at 8 PM on Wednesday. (With agency inputs)