Never expected to see a cyclone here: Alibaug resident

Updated: Jun 04, 2020, 07:54 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon | Mumbai

As Cyclone Nisarga leaves, residents assess damages, 58-year-old man and 16-year-old boy die in Alibaug and Shrivardhan respectively

NDRF personnel swung into action as soon as the cyclone had passed to clear roads blocked by fallen trees
NDRF personnel swung into action as soon as the cyclone had passed to clear roads blocked by fallen trees

For Alibaug residents, Wednesday's Cyclone Nisarga came as one of the most unexpected calamities and has caused mayhem they have never seen before.

Resident Mohammed Nasir, who is in the fishing business, said, "We had anchored the boats since May 31. No was allowed to venture into the sea since June 1. We never expected to witness a cyclone and feared the worst when the cyclone made landfall in Alibaug around 1 pm."

"My house is within 500 meters of the coastline and we were taken to a safer location by the district administration a day before. The gusty winds produced fearful noises. The sea was very rough and I thought the anchored fishing boats will be washed away. But luckily, they were intact," said Nasir.

NDRF personnel swung into action as soon as the cyclone had passed to clear roads blocked by fallen trees
NDRF personnel swung into action as soon as the cyclone had passed to clear roads blocked by fallen trees

"Blocked roads are being cleared. The Mumbai-Goa highway has been cleared of fallen trees and electric poles," a disaster management official said.

Two villagers die
Dashrat Waghmare, 58, a native of Umate village in Alibaug, ventured out of his house when the winds had stopped for a while but an electric pole fell on him, injuring him badly. He was rushed to the nearby primary health centre where he was declared dead.

District Collector Nidhi Choudhary said, "It is an unfortunate incident. Despite warnings issued to people, Waghmare stepped out and met with the accident. We will ensure that his next of kin get compensation."

In another incident, Amar Jawlekar, 16, from Mauje Saigaon village in Shrivardhan taluka, died after coming under a collapsing retaining wall in his house.

Horticulture hit
The cyclone also affected horticulture in Alibaug. Mango, coconut, and cashew trees were uprooted. Electric supply had to be discontinued in many parts to prevent short-circuits or fire. An officer from the district administration said that pre-monsoon trimming of trees was carried out. "Usually in case of cyclones, due to gusty winds, trees get uprooted completely or a portion of branches breaks due to the wind pressure," a disaster management official said.

"Many sheds buildings and kucha houses have been damaged. A detailed report will be submitted to the state government," said a district official. The officials do not yet know the estimated worth of the losses. "Our priority is to bring the district back to normal by restoring power supply, clearing blocked roads, assessing the damages to kucha houses, putting up roofs for those whose sheds are blown off, etc."

Communication kept alive
A team of HAM operators under the disaster management department had kept the communication lines going through the HAM radio system. The district administration and police communicated with each other across talukas within Raigad and with the disaster control room at Mantralaya.

The district collector has appealed to people to continue indoors, even if the rain and winds have stopped. "We are anticipating heavy to very heavy rainfall and people are requested to remain inside their concrete pukka houses or in cyclone shelters, as there are high chances that many fragile trees or electric poles will fall and we do not want any causality," Choudhary said.

NDRF assistance to continue
Anupam Srivastava, commandant, NDRF Pune, who was closely monitoring Cyclone Nisarga's landfall was relieved as there was not much loss to human life and property as was feared. Srivastava said, "We had our teams in Palghar, Thane, Mumbai, where nothing much happened. We had deployed five teams in Raigad (with 35 members in each). Usually, we work both before and after a cyclone – helping the administration to alert and mobilise public and cattle. Post-cyclone, we help restore normalcy through rescue and clearing roads, etc."

"Since the situation in other places is not as bad as anticipated, we may call back the NDRF teams or divert some of them to Raigad," said Srivastava, adding that there was no loss of life amid the NDRF personnel.

No. of NDRF teams in Raigad

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