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Gujarat: Cyclone Vayu spares Gujarat: 20 yrs ago, a cyclone rained death, killed thousands in state by Mukesh Rawat June 14,2019   |  Source: India Today

For thousands who lived in and around the bustling coastal town of Kandla in Gujarat, June 9, 1998 started as an ordinary day. By mid-morning, some were perplexed to see the sky suddenly turn dark and strong winds howl around. June typically is a month characterised by a spotless sky in this part of the world, known for its vast treeless salt pans.

In the next six hours, it did not just rain in Kandla but literally poured. Soon the floodwaters surged vast areas inhabited by salt and port workers. As water levels rose, people shifted to higher spots. Jayanthibhai, a salt worker, was one of them. He, his family and 28 others climbed on to the roof of his two-storey house with a hope to escape the fury of the floodwaters. By then, tides as high as 25 feet were slapping the town. One such tide slammed into his house and the building came down like a crumbling block. Jayanthibhai escaped. He held on to a pillar but was shattered to see his wife, two daughters and others swept away. "It was worse than the curse of Durvasa [a mythical sage who pronounced calamitous curses]," a 1998 report in India Today magazine quotes Jayanthibhai as saying.

Elsewhere in Kandla, the picture of death and destruction was no different. The town was full of dead bodies and the stench was nauseating.

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