Cyclone Nisarga: 4,407 people relocated, but landfall site survey shows many still at home
A total of 4,407 have been relocated from the coastal resort town of Alibag — around 9 nautical miles or 90 km by road from Mumbai — where cyclone Nisarga is expected to make landfall just south of it between 1 pm and 4 pm.
Nisarga, classified as a severe cyclonic storm is expected to make landfall at a wind speed of 100-110 kmph, with a gusting speed of 120 kmph. The Indian Institute of Oceanic Studies has also warned of storm surges that may result in inundation in low-lying areas along the coastline.
However, a survey of coastal villages by this reporter showed that many people had still not left their homes despite a warning by district authorities. HT spoke to residents of three fishing villages, Siddharth Nagar, Shastri Nagar and Alibag Koliwada, who were still at home on Wednesday morning. Local police was spotted going door-to-door, telling people to evacuate as rain and wind speed intensified marginally around 9.30 am.
“It has been raining since yesterday. We have to complete all our household chores before leaving. We will evacuate soon,” Kamla Perekar, a fisherwoman from Alibag Koliwada, told this reporter.
Girish Hirlekar, a resident of Shastri Nagar village said, “We were informed about being evacuated at 8 am by the local police. It will take us sometime to leave our houses. [I am worried that we will be leaving our homes] unattended during the cyclone.” Alibag on Wednesday has recorded 33 mm rain between 5.30 am and 9.30 am while Raigad district, which comprises 17 talukas, recorded 285 mm rain in the same time frame.
Residents have been evacuated from other coastal districts too — as of Wednesday 10 am, relocation of at least 2,553 people from Shrivardhan, 2,407 from Murud, 1,512 from Uran, 239 from Mhasala, 87 from Pen, and 55 form Panvel has taken place.
“People have been relocated to rest houses, schools, and government buildings for Wednesday and Thursday. From Alibag, they are mostly residents of fishing villages relocated to schools, and everyone will be allowed to return to their homes once we are told that there is no impending danger from the cyclone,” said Manoj Sanap, district information officer of Raigad district, in which Alibag falls. He added that they had been informed by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) that Cyclone Nisarga is likely to make landfall close to Alibag around 3 pm. “There are seven teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in the district including two teams in Alibag,” he said.
Until Wednesday morning, 20 National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) teams were deployed in Maharashtra: eight in Mumbai, five in Raigad, two each in Thane, Palghar and Ratnagiri, and one in Sindhudurg district. 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.
Close to 100,000 people have been evacuated from the coastal areas of Maharashtra until Wednesday morning state government and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) authorities have said.