Cyclone Nisarga: Nearly one lakh people evacuated from coastal areas of Maharashtra
Close to one lakh people have been evacuated from the coastal areas of Maharashtra until Wednesday morning, in anticipation of Cyclone Nisarga later today, authorities from the state government and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) said.
A state official said the evacuation has been mainly carried out Raigad, Palghar and Thane districts along the Maharashtra coast. The cyclone is expected to make landfall around 1 pm at Alibag in Raigad district, 10 nautical miles south of Mumbai, and around 90 km by road.
Until Wednesday morning, 20 NDRF teams were deployed in Maharashtra, of which eight are in Mumbai, five in Raigad, two each in Thane, Palghar and Ratnagiri, and one team in Sindhudurg. Each team has up to 45 jawans equipped with tree and pole cutting machines, communication gadgets, inflatable boats, first-aid kits, basic medicines and a rescuer-Covid kit, which includes a hand-wash, soap, gloves, face masks and face shields. There are more than 40 teams across the western coast, as Gujarat also prepared for the cyclone’s impact.
Sachidanand Gawde, second-in-command, NDRF Pune, said that the teams continue to make announcements via loudspeakers asking people living near the coast to evacuate. “Our men have been stationed in different pockets and are assisting district administrations in evacuation measures,” Gawde said.
Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray had appealed to citizens on Tuesday to not step out of their homes on Wednesday and Thursday. “Offices, industries and other activities, which have started functioning, will be shut tomorrow and day after. Do not leave your house for your own safety and well-being,” he said. “All fishermen on the coastline have been contacted and have returned home. They will not be able to venture into the sea for at least two days. Though the cyclone may make landfall at Alibag, everyone from Mumbai to Sindhudurg and Palghar must be on alert.”
Most district collectors have imposed a curfew for the next three days in the tehsils expected to be hit by the cyclone. Mumbai Police on Tuesday issued an order restricting assembly of one or more persons at areas such as beaches, parks and promenades along the coastline. A Mumbai Police tweet on June 2 said, “Section 144 (CrPC) has been promulgated in the city from 00:00 hours, June 3rd till 12:00 hours, June 4th. Refrain from venturing out to coast-beaches, promenades, parks and other similar places along the coastline.”
Mumbai fire brigade authorities said 150 fire personnel and 94 lifeguards are on stand-by in the city. The fire brigade has 63 fire engines fitted with hydraulic, electrical and mechanical gear for cutting, lifting, spreading and quenching, and five rescue vans with stretchers, flash lights, portable generators, cutters and chainsaws. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has more than 300 dewatering pumps on ground and up to three schools have been identified per ward as rescue shelters. Mumbai has 24 administrative wards.
Authorities have also issued a list of dos and don’ts to be followed by citizens to remain safe. Citizens have been asked to stay away from windows, keep some windows open and some closed to equalise pressure, tie loose things outside their house and move them indoors, stay in the centre of the room and away from corners, regularly inspect battery-operated and reserved power-systems, disconnect power supply of all non-emergency electric equipment and tools, seal important documents and jewellery in a plastic bag and switch off power supply in case of sparks in electric equipment, exposed wires or burning smell.
Citizens have been asked to not drive or ride any vehicle, not venture near dilapidated buildings, not move injured people unless absolutely necessary, do not allow oil of other inflammable substances to spill, and clean right away, and keep a watch for broken electric poles and wires and other sharp objects.