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The Hindu
The Hindu
Mahesh Langa

In the aftermath of cyclone Biparjoy, Gujarat grapples with destruction

Cyclone Biparjoy caused widespread damage in Gujarat’s Kutch-Saurashtra region as it made landfall late on Thursday. Hundreds of villages were left without a power supply while thousands of trees were uprooted due to the strong winds and heavy rain.

Two deaths were reported and 23 people were injured while more than 100 animals died. However, authorities said the deaths had occurred before the landfall incident and were unrelated. 

On Friday, over 1,000 teams were racing to restore power supply and clear roads in eight affected districts. People shifted to temporary shelters began returning to their homes. More than one lakh people had been housed in around 1,500 temporary shelters in the State.

A view of the ‘very severe’ Cyclone Biparjoy in the Arabian Sea from the International Space Station. (Source: Twitter/@Astro_Alneyadi)

Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel held a series of meetings in Gandhinagar to review the situation on the ground and directed the State administration to carry out a survey regarding the damage and restore power, roads and movement of people on war footing. He also said those shifted to shelters would receive compensation as per norms.

Cyclone Biparjoy made landfall near Jakhau Port in Gujarat’s Kutch district. Even after landfall, the coastal districts continued to witness strong winds, heavy rainfall and rough sea conditions on Friday morning, impacting infrastructure and causing uprooting of trees. 

Several houses are damaged as floodwater makes its way in the aftermath of Cyclone Biparjoy’s landfall in Gujarat’s Kutch district on June 16, 2023. (Source: PTI)

A State government release said 1,127 teams were working across eight districts - Kutch, Devbhumi Dwarka, Jamnagar, Morbi, Junagadh, Gir Somnath, Rajkot and Porbandar - to restore power in the aftermath of the cyclone. As many as 51 teams have been deployed to maintain operations of 714 substations in these areas, it added.

According to State Relief Commissioner Alok Kumar Pandey, the cyclone caused power outages in 1,092 villages, knocked down 5,120 electricity poles, and left 186 transformers and 2,502 feeders were damaged in the Saurashtra-Kutch region.

In Bhavnagar district, a father and son drowned in the flood waters when they tried to save their goats. However, there are still no reports about the extent of damage and plight of animals in the coastal villages of Kutch, Dwarka and Porbandar districts. 

NDRF teams rescued people stranded in flood waters or due to road blockades in the affected areas. 

Additionally, Forest Department teams removed 581 fallen trees from roads while 184 teams were deployed in and around the Gir National Park for the rescue of lions and other wild animals if emergencies arose, it said.

An area is waterlogged after heavy rains following the landfall of Cyclone Biparjoy in Gujarat’s Kutch district on June 16, 2023. (Source: PTI)

Among 1,09,000 persons shifted from coastal areas to temporary shelters there were 10,918 children, 5,070 senior citizens and 1,152 pregnant women. 

In all, 19 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and 12 teams of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) were deployed on the State’s coastline. The government had also deployed 1,005 medical teams and 504 ambulances in coastal districts such as Kutch and Devbhumi Dwarka.

In a letter to the Chief Minister, Gujarat Congress President Shaktisinh Gohil and other leaders demanded that the cyclone be declared a national calamity under the National Disaster Management Act and those affected be provided cash and other benefits. 

Mr. Gohil and his colleagues toured affected areas of Kutch to assess the situation. 

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