Navy braces up to deal with Cyclone Vayu

Deputy Commandant at India's 6th National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Ranvijay Kumar (L), briefs NDRF personnel at an NDRF camp in Chiloda (also called Naroda), some 40 kms from Ahmedabad. (AFP Photo)

The Indian Navy on Wednesday said the Western Naval Command has deployed its ships, aircraft and helicopters for rescue and relief operations and to alert the fishermen at sea about the impending Cyclone Vayu.

The Navy said its diving and rescue teams and relief material have been kept on standby for rendering assistance to civil authorities.

"Bricks and relief material have been embarked on board nominated ships of the (Western) Command and are ready to be deployed at short notice.

"Indian Navy ships operating at sea and aircraft, helicopters on routine sorties have been directed to inform fishing vessels operating at sea and advise them to return to harbour," it said.

P8i reconnaissance aircraft and IL-76 transporter aircraft are on standby to undertake Search and Rescue (SAR) missions.

Medical teams and facilities at Indian Naval Hospital Asvini at Mumbai are standby to handle medical emergencies.

Offshore Defence and Advisory Group have also issued an advisory on Cyclone Vayu to all offshore platforms, it added.

"State administration, local district authorities and Indian Coast Guard authorities have been directed to caution fishermen against proceeding to sea and take all necessary precautions in view of inclement weather," the Navy said.

Vayu intensified into a "very severe cyclonic storm" on Wednesday. The state government has launched a massive evacuation exercise to shift about three lakh people from low-lying areas of Saurashtra and Kutch regions.

The cyclone is expected to hit the Gujarat coast on Thursday morning, but several parts along the Maharashtra and Goa coast have been witnessing strong winds and rains. 

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