Armed forces gear up for Cyclone Tauktae

Focus on keeping oxygen supply chain routes open.

May 17, 2021 07:39 pm | Updated 10:12 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Waves caused by Cyclone Tauktae crash up on the promenade near the Gateway of India monument, in Mumbai on May 17, 2021.

Waves caused by Cyclone Tauktae crash up on the promenade near the Gateway of India monument, in Mumbai on May 17, 2021.

The armed forces have mobilised men and assets in preparation for Cyclone Tauktae .

Gujarat being a critical supplier of oxygen from ports to other States, efforts are on to ensure the routes are kept open and also opened at the earliest after the cyclone makes landfall, an Army officer said on Monday after a coordination meeting chaired by Gujarat Chief Minister through video conference also attended by Maj. Gen. VK Sharma, General Officer Commanding of the Army’s Division at Ahmedabad.

Also read: Cyclone Tauktae | Five killed as gale force winds, rain pummel Kerala, Karnataka

“The priority is to ensure zero loss of life. The Army is also providing all possible assistance for making standby arrangements including oxygen, power supply and physical safety at all COVID hospitals,” the officer said.

The Army has mobilised columns and Engineer Task Forces (ETF) to the Western Coast from various parts of the country. It is continuously monitoring the situation for likely intensity, maximum impact areas and anticipated relief effort in coordination with the civil administration and other agencies, another officer said.

“Since the maximum impact is likely to be in Saurashtra including Union Territory of Diu, 10 integrated teams are poised to be employed for aid to civilian authority in Diu. Ten teams have been sent to Junagarh area,” the officer stated.

Also read: Cyclone Tauktae | High waves, rainfall forecast for States on west coast

“The Navy has kept 11 diving teams on standby while 12 flood rescue teams and medical teams have been earmarked for immediate response and deployment,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was informed on Monday at a review meeting held through video conferencing, the Defence Ministry said. Repair and rescue teams have also been formed to undertake urgent infrastructural repairs post cyclone.

Three naval ships — Talwar, Tarkash and Tabar — are on standby with aid and relief material. The other ships on the Western seaboard are also on standby for assistance to fishing and small boats stranded due to rough weather while the maritime reconnaissance aircraft are continuously broadcasting cyclone warnings to fishermen, the statement said.

The IAF has deployed aircraft to transport personnel and material of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to Ahmedabad. On Sunday, it deployed two C-130J and one An-32 aircraft for transportation of 167 personnel and 16.5 tonnes of load of the NDRF from Kolkata to Ahmedabad. Another C-130J and two An-32 aircraft carried 121 NDRF personnel and 11.6 tonnes of load from Vijayawada to Ahmedabad while two C-130J aircraft transported 110 personnel and 15 tonnes of cargo for the NDRF from Pune to Ahmedabad.

Also read: Cyclone Tauktae: High-wave warning for Kerala coast

Navy responds to multiple SOS calls

The Navy launched multiple search and rescue operations in response to SOS calls from ships. In response to SOS by an Indian vessel adrift in the Arabian Sea, a naval helicopter was dispatched early on Monday for rescuing the stranded crew of Indian flagged tug ‘Coromondel Supporter IX’, which was adrift north west of Mangalore.

“Rough seas, due to cyclone Tauktae, had resulted in flooding of the vessel’s machinery compartments rendering it without propulsion and power supply, and the crew without any support,” the Navy said. The Navy helicopter was dispatched after failed attempts to rescue by boat and four crew members were winched safely.

In another incident, a request was received for assistance for Barge ‘P305’ adrift off the Heera oil fields in the Bombay High area with 273 personnel onboard. INS Kochi and INS Kolkata were deputed and 38 personnel were rescued so far, the Navy said late evening. They are continuing the SAR operations in extremely challenging conditions, the Navy said.

In a third incident, following SOS from Barge ‘GAL Constructor’ with 137 people onboard about 8 nautical miles from Mumbai, INS Kolkata was sailed out to render assistance, the Navy said.

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