The deep depression in the Arabian Sea has intensified into a cyclonic storm and will cross the north Maharashtra and south Gujarat coasts on 3 June. National Disaster Response Force Director General S.N. Pradhan speaks to The Daily Guardian about the response and preparedness.
Q: What is the information about Cyclone Nisarga cyclone and how dangerous is it?
A: Cyclone Nisarga will first hit the coast of Maharastra on 3 June. In view of this, alerts have been issued in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa, Daman-Diu and Dadra Nagar Haveli. Respective state governments have been asked to order evacuation of people living in low-lying areas due to the possibility of destruction. Fishermen have been asked to return from the sea. People living in coastal areas are being sent to safe places. NDRF is deployed in both the states — 10 teams are in Maharashtra and 7 team on standby and11 teams are in Gujarat. However, Gujarat has asked for 5 more teams so we are getting them airlifted from Punjab. They should be able to reach Gujarat by late night. More teams are on the standby.
Q: Where will the cyclone first hit and how much damage can be expected?
A: According to estimate, landfall is expected to occur at any time on 3 June and the first landfall is expected to be between Daman and Raigarh district of Maharashtra, the wind speed will be 90 km per hour. The Meteorological Department has said the speed will reduce as soon as it moves beyond Maharashtra coast, and if we handle this right, there will be zero casualty.
Q: What are the preparations of the Central government regarding this?
A: Home Minister Amit Shah earlier held a meeting with the top officials of different agencies including National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) officials and Chief Ministers of the affected states to prepare for this cyclone. He assured all possible help and the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) has met twice to decide the best possible course of action. Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba also reviewed the preparedness of states and Central ministries/agencies to prepare to mitigate the disaster through timely action and coordination. The storm is likely to impact the coastal districts of Raigad, Mumbai, Thane and Palghar in Maharashtra along with Valsad, Navsari, Surat, Bhavnagar and Bharuch districts of Gujarat and Daman, Dadra & Nagar Haveli. The top officials have been on alert ever since the warning issued by the met department and we are ready for evacuation at any point of time. People from low-lying areas have been alerted and evacuated, warnings have been sounded for fishermen at sea. All the relevant agencies have been briefed and we hope to manage this, like we did with Cyclone Amphan. The Central government is constantly in touch with the states, the NDRF teams are giving us reports of every moment.