People evacuated from Kandla port are seen inside a makeshift shelter, ahead of cyclone Biparjoy, in Gandhidham, Gujarat, India on June 13. — Reuters/Francis Mascarenhas

How is India preparing for Cyclone Biparjoy?

Around 45,000 people have been evacuated from coastal areas in western Gujarat, India.
Published June 14, 2023

Cyclone Biparjoy is expected to hit Pakistan and India. The governments have taken measures in both countries ahead of the cyclone’s landfall between Pakistan’s Keti Bandar and India’s Gujarat on Thursday.

“The cyclone Biparjoy is now 330 km south of Karachi,” Chief Meteorologist at Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), Sardar Sarfaraz told

“Since it emerged on June 6, its trajectory has been towards north-northwest for the past eight days. But now, it will recurve towards the northeast and hit the coastline areas of Keti Bandar in Thatta district. It will pass through or hit anywhere between Keti Bandar and the Rann of Kutch [in India],” he said.

 Boys watch waves hit the shore in Mumbai, India on June 12.—Reuters/Francis Mascarenhas
Boys watch waves hit the shore in Mumbai, India on June 12.—Reuters/Francis Mascarenhas

He also said the cyclone is likely to impact that area the most in the form of “torrential and high-intensity rains that are around 100-120 km/hr”. “Storm surge — the piling of water at the time of strike — could also generate 3-3.5m high waves that could inundate coastlines,” he added.

This is the third cyclone to hit India’s western coast in 60 years. It is predicted to make landfall near Jakhau port in the Kutch district, Gujarat on Thursday. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued weather warnings in several states and union territories such as Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa, Lakshadweep, etc.

In Gujarat, fishing activities have been banned till June 16 and the Kandla Port in Kutch is closed. Indian Coast Guard also rescued 50 crew members from an oil rig located 40 km off the coast of Gujarat ahead of the cyclone.

Evacuation is happening on a massive scale in India. Relief commissioner Alok Kumar Pandey said that the government’s focus is on evacuating people to safer locations and making sure that there’s minimum human and property destruction. So far, seven casualties have been recorded, according to Reuters.

“As a result, 37,794 people have been evacuated to secure areas in various districts of Gujarat. The evacuations took place in the eight districts,” said the official. He also said that more evacuations will take place in the next 24 hours.

By Wednesday afternoon, around 45,000 people were evacuated from eight coastal districts of Indian Gujarat that are at the highest risk and likely to be worst hit by the cyclone. These include Kutch, Porbandar, Junagadh, Jamnagar, Devbhoomi-Dwarka, Gir-Somnath, Morbi and Rajkot.

“We have evacuated more than 45,000 people so far. The evacuation operations will continue till today (Wednesday) evening, mainly in Kutch,” said Kamal Dayani, a senior official in the Gujarat state government.

Evacuees from Kandla Port sleep inside a classroom in a school-turned-shelter, in Gandhidham, Gujarat, India. — Reuters/Francis Mascarenhas
Evacuees from Kandla Port sleep inside a classroom in a school-turned-shelter, in Gandhidham, Gujarat, India. — Reuters/Francis Mascarenhas

More than 400 shelter homes have been set up in the district, according to Union Minister Parshottam Rupala.

Makeshift relief centres, which include government buildings, have enough essential items like water, food and medicine available for the evacuees, said Pandey. Over 40,000 food packets, 2,000 kg of milk powder and 45,000 tetrapacks of milk are prepared to be given to the affectees, another official said.

Amreli police in Gujarat delivered essential items such as vegetables and milk to local residents.

In the eight districts most likely to be affected, government schools are closed till June 16. Section 144 has also been imposed in Kutch till Friday which prohibits gathering of five or more people.

Seventeen teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and 12 teams of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) are held on standby for rescue operations, according to officials.

NDRF teams are stationed along the coastline in Kutch, Dwarka and Jamnagar with satellite phones, VHF sets, inflatable rubber boats and tree cutters to help clear roads and rescue people who could get trapped, according to NDRF officials.

The Indian State of Gujarat’s Directorate of Information said: “78 Army personnel from Jamnagar Military Station left for Devbhoomi Dwarka for relief and rescue operations as part of a precautionary measure in view of the possible condition of Biparjoy Cyclone.”

The neighbouring country has also cancelled 67 scheduled trains as the cyclone threatens to damage railways and disrupt overhead power lines and signalling systems.

Trains passing through these coastal areas are cancelled or short-terminated, said the Western Railway.