"Red" alert for an area of 600 kilometers. The displaced will be welcomed in 700 tent cities. Schools and colleges closed; fishermen forbidden to leave ports.
New Delhi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Indian authorities are preparing to evacuate some 300,000 people from the coastal areas of Gujarat, western India, where hurricane Vayu is expected to arrive tomorrow. Operations began this morning; the displaced will be welcomed in 700 tent cities.
The mass evacuation is the first test for Amit Shah, the new Interior Minister of Narendra Modi's second term. His goal is to successfully repeat the operation carried out last month in Orissa, when about one million people were displaced,to avoid the humanitarian catastrophe of 1999, when the cyclone Odisha caused the death of 10 thousand inhabitants.
The Indian Meteorological Department predicts that the tropical storm will hit the coastal area between Porbandar and Mahuva, up to Veraval and the Diu region, for a total of 200 kilometers. Therefore the “red” alert (the maximum level) was decreed from the district of Kutch to the southern part of Gujarat (about 600 km).
The authorities predict that the cyclone will cause damage to the most fragile buildings, uncovering roofs of houses and shacks made of sheet metal; winds up to 135 km / h could also knock down the electricity poles, interrupting the supply of electricity and communications in general.
The local government has ordered the closure of schools for today and tomorrow. It also issued a ban on fishing boats leaving port, to avoid their sinking beneath massive waves.