Cabinet secretary holds high-level meeting on Cyclone Tauktae: 10 points
Cyclone Tauktae latest updates: Secretaries of ministries of home, power, shipping, telecom, civil aviation, fisheries, Railway Board chairman, member secretary NDMA and other officials also attended the meeting.
A high-level team under the chairmanship of cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba met on Sunday afternoon to review the preparedness of agencies in five vulnerable states - Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala - which are threatened by Cyclone Tauktae, which is moving along India's western coast towards Gujarat.
Secretaries of ministries of home, power, shipping, telecom, civil aviation, fisheries, Railway Board chairman, member secretary NDMA and other officials also attended the meeting.
According to India Meteorological Department (IMD), Tauktae, which has intensified into a "very severe cyclonic storm", will cross Gujarat coast around early morning on May 18.
In a tweet on Sunday afternoon, the IMD said, “The Very Severe Cyclonic Storm “Tauktae” (pronounced as Tau’Te) centred at 0830 hours IST of today over eastcentral Arabian Sea about 120 km west-southwest of Panjim-Goa, 420 km south of Mumbai, 660 km south-southeast of Veraval (Gujarat) and 810 km southeast of Karachi(Pakistan).”
Here are 10 big points about the cyclone that is lashing the states along India's western coast:
- At the meeting chaired by Gauba, IMD chief said that Cyclone Tauktae will reach Gujarat with wind speeds ranging from 150 to 160 km per hour accompanied by squally winds, heavy rainfall and storm surge in the coastal districts of the state.
- The chief secretaries of the concerned states apprised the central committee of the preparatory measures put in place to deal with the cyclonic storm. Adequate stocks of foodgrain, drinking water and other essential supplies have been arranged and preparations made to maintain essential services such as power, telecommunications, they said.
- The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), meanwhile, said that it has deployed/made available 79 teams in these states and 22 additional teams are also kept on standby. Rescue and relief teams of the Army, Navy and Coast Guard along with ships and aircrafts have also been deployed.
- Keeping in view the Covid-19 pandemic, the central committee was informed that necessary arrangements have been made to ensure uninterrupted functioning of hospitals and Covid care centres, along with ensuring generation and supply of oxygen to these facilities.
- Addressing the state officials, Gauba stressed that all measures must be taken to evacuate people in the areas affected by the cyclone so as to ensure zero loss of life and damage.
- The IMD on Sunday issued an Yellow alert for Gujarat and Daman & Diu coasts. The weather department has forecast extremely heavy rainfall for the southernmost regions in Gujarat on May 17.
- Fishermen have been asked not to venture into the sea along Karnataka and adjoining areas till May 17. The advisory has also been given to fishermen in Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat till May 18.
- Many places along the Gujarat coast and Diu are likely to be inundated by tidal waves of about three-metres high during the time of the landfall, according to IMD.
- Four people have died and 73 villages across six districts in Karnataka have been destroyed by the cyclone, which is moving northwards, according to the state disaster management agency.
- Earlier in the day, Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray said that the state's coastal districts have been put on high alert and briefed the Union home minister Amit Shah in a meeting about the steps taken to handle the situation.