- CM Murad Ali Shah says 'cloudburst' expected in Karachi
Cyclone Biparjoy is about 600km south of Karachi, the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) said on Monday, adding that environmental conditions are supporting the system to maintain its severity.
As a result, the government of Sindh announced evacuations across the province and sought help from the armed forces.
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah cited that “more than 80,000 people are at risk” of being affected.
He added that people would be forced to evacuate. Moreover, on Monday, Karachi’s Seaview Road was closed to traffic to prevent people from heading out into the open sea.
Described as an “Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm,” Biparjoy has moved further northward during the last 12 hours and now lies near Latitude 19.5°N and Longitude 67.7°E.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also spoke to the Sindh chief minister on the phone, who apprised him of his government’s preparations to deal with the cyclone.
The premier commended the efforts of the Sindh government and assured him of the complete support of the federal government.
“God willing, we will be able to overcome this situation with the support of the people,” he said in a tweet.
Earlier, the PMD issued a notification saying, “under existing upper-level steering winds,” Biparjoy is most likely to track further northward until the morning of 14 June, then recurve northeastward and cross between Keti Bandar in Southeast Sindh and the Indian Gujarat coast on 15 June afternoon as a “Very Severe Cyclonic Storm.”
PMD’s cyclone warning center in Karachi is continuously monitoring the system and will issue updates accordingly, the notification said.
It added that widespread wind-dust/thunderstorm rain with some hefty falls accompanied by winds of 80-100km/hour was likely in Thatta, Sujawal, Badin, Tharparker, and Umerkot districts from 13 to 17 June.
Meanwhile, dust/thunderstorm-rain with few heavy falls, accompanied by winds of 60-80 Km/hour, are expected in Karachi, Hyderabad, Tando Muhammad Khan, Tando Allayar, Shaheed Benazirabad, and Sanghar districts from 14 to 16 June.
‘‘The prominent models being monitored consistently indicate that Biparjoy is expected to progress in a northeastward direction,’’ National Disaster Management Authority tweeted.
“Fishermen are advised not to venture into the open sea till the system is over by 17 June, as the Arabian Sea conditions may get very rough/high accompanied with high tides along the coast,” the PMD warned.
CM Murad Ali Shah gets into action
In a press conference today, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that while the cyclone’s path had changed from Karachi, there would be heavy rainfall in the port city.
He said all relevant authorities would be on emergency duty till the risk of the cyclone ends. He advised the citizens not to go out unnecessarily during the week’s heavy winds and rains.
He said the district administration, the Navy, and Maritime Security were directed to help the residents.
The CM said that while schools were closed, some institutions were open.
‘‘Will look at the severity, and if the need comes, we will close these education institutions,’’ he said.
Shah had earlier said that the Karachi Commissioner had been directed to secure billboards. He said he was in touch with Corps Commander Karachi, DG Rangers, and GOC Hyderabad to develop close coordination to avoid untoward incidents.
Separately, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah conducted an aerial inspection of the coastline along Sujawal, Badin, and Thatta.
Sindh Local Government Minister Nasir Shah, chief secretary Sohail Rajput, and PDMA Director General Salman Shah accompanied the chief minister.
Shah also presided over a meeting in Sujawal, where he reviewed arrangements being made to mitigate the impact of the cyclone on the coastal belt.
During a briefing, the Hyderabad commissioner informed Shah that the cyclone is expected to hit the Sindh coast on June 15, and its impact will reduce till June 17-18.
He was further told that when the storm hits the coast, the sea level will rise by four to five metres.
The minister was also informed that 50,000 people from the villages nearby Shah Bunder, Jati, and Keti Bunder would need to be evacuated before the cyclone.
Moreover, directives for the evacuation from “dangerous buildings” have also been issued.
The Sindh Building Control Authority and the deputy commissioners will take “necessary action concerning the dangerous buildings, building with weak glass panels, scaffolding around under construction buildings […]”.
The cranes and other construction machinery installed anywhere in the areas under threat will also be removed.
The evacuees will be provided will all facilities during their stay in the relief camps.
Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department said on Monday that the cyclone could hit India’s western state of Gujarat this week.
Two of India’s biggest ports - Mundra and Kandla - are in the Gulf of Kutch. In contrast, the Jamnagar refinery, the world’s biggest oil refinery complex owned by Reliance Industries, is based in Saurashtra.
In a tweet, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel said seven teams of India’s National Disaster Response Force and 12 State Disaster Response Force units had been deployed in the districts likely to be affected by the storm.
Heavy rainfall and gusting winds would affect nearly a dozen districts in coastal Gujarat. However, some of the districts are sparsely populated, which would limit the damage, a weather office official who declined to be named told Reuters.