Cyclone Tauktae: IAF keeps 16 transport aircraft, 18 choppers in readiness

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New Delhi, May 15 (PTI) The Indian Air Force on Saturday said it has kept 16 transport aircraft and 18 helicopters in readiness in peninsular India as part of preparations to deal with the situation that could arise out of cyclone Tauktae.

The IAF has also decided to focus on COVID relief operations in the coastal areas in the next few days as bad weather is likely to affect air operations later, it said.

'The IAF has kept 16 transport aircraft and 18 helicopters on op readiness in peninsular India in preparation for the Cyclone Tauktae which is expected to cause very heavy to extremely heavy rainfall along the western coast of India in the next few days,' the IAF said in a statement.

It said one IL-76 aircraft has airlifted 127 personnel and 11 tonnes of cargo from Bhatinda to Jamnagar.

'A C-130 aircraft has airlifted 25 personnel and 12.3 tonnes cargo from Bhatinda to Rajkot. Two C-130 aircraft have airlifted 126 personnel and 14 tonnes cargo from Bhubaneswar to Jamnagar,' the IAF said.

'Additionally, IAF Covid relief operations have been focused in these coastal areas for the coming few days, as bad weather is likely to affect air operations later. The cyclone relief operations are in addition to those underway for Covid relief,' it added.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said at a high-level meeting that cyclone Tauktae is expected to touch the Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Naliya around May 18 afternoon or evening with a wind speed ranging up to 175 kmph.

It is likely to cause heavy rainfall in the coastal districts of Gujarat, including extremely heavy falls in Junagadh and Gir Somnath and heavy to very heavy rain at a few places in the districts of Saurashtra, Kutch and Diu, namely Gir Somnath, Diu, Junagadh, Porbandar, Devbhoomi Dwarka, Amreli, Rajkot, Jamnagar. PTI MPB RT RT

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