Over 500 emergency response team members from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Mumbai Fire Brigade (MFB) and the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) are on standby as Mumbai braces for impact of Cyclone Nisarga’s landfall by Wednesday afternoon.
The BMC has appealed to citizens to not step out of their houses unnecessarily. It has also asked citizens to keep their mobile phones and power banks charged to ensure connectivity, and to keep candles handy. The city has been receiving light rains in several places since early morning.
However, power distribution firms have said there will be no scheduled shutdowns. The Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Company (Mahatransco) has created a contingency plan for all stakeholders for Wednesday and Thursday to prevent power outage in the state.
There will be no planned shutdown of power supply in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) and north Maharashtra on the two days, the plan, accessed by HT, stated. All the sub-station, operation and maintenance personnel and engineers have been asked to remain alert at power stations, to analyse the cause of tripping and take quick action, in case of any glitches. Mahatransco has also asked an adequate number of experienced staffers to be deployed at the control centres for ‘crisis management’. “A system restoration procedure will also be readily available for the teams to take quick action,” an official from the transmission arm said.
The BrihanMumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking, which supplies power to Mumbai’s island city, said it will keep its engineers on standby so that immediate action can be taken in case of a power failure, especially at Covid-19 hospitals or care centres. Adani Electricity Mumbai Limited (AEML), a major power supplier in the city and its suburbs, said all necessary precautions have been taken. “Our specialised quick response teams are on standby. Consumers can call our helpline 19122, and our teams will attend to their concerns at the earliest,” an AEML spokesperson said.
According to BMC’S disaster management department, officers from each of the 24 wards are on standby, followed by 150-plus members from MFB who will activate the flood response plan, in case of an emergency. Further, 94 lifeguards are on standby at several beaches in the city including Girgaon Chowpatty, Juhu, Versova, Aksa and Gorai, BMC officials said. Citizens have been barred from going to beaches in the city under a Section 144 order by the Mumbai Police.
Three NDRF teams of 45 members each were already stationed in Mumbai until Tuesday. An additional five teams of 45 members each were airlifted from Andhra Pradesh late on Tuesday night.
The NDRF team is on standby with equipment such as rescue boats, tree and pole cutters, life jackets, ropes, breathing masks, floaters, etc.
An official from BMC’s Disaster Management Cell said, “The main worry is slums in places like Versova and Colaba, considering they are almost on the seashore. Many of those residing in these slums were identified and evacuated on Tuesday night.”
The official added, “We are expecting a lot of trees to fall, and the ward level and MFB officials are already on standby for the same. Thankfully, as per the predictions, the landfall is in afternoon when there is a low tide, however, it will be worrying if during the landfall there is heavy rainfall.”
In the next three days, there will be three high tides of over four metres at least thrice. The first high tide of 4.26 metres was on Wednesday at 10.06 am. This will be followed by a 4.56 metre high tide at 10.57 am on Thursday, and a third one is expected at 11.45 am on Friday of 4.75 metres.
Meanwhile, in an advisory issued on Tuesday, the BMC said, “If for some unavoidable reason, you need to drive your car, please ensure that you carry a hammer or objects that can help you break the glass in case your car doors get jammed.”