KARACHI: Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah on Monday said that around 32,466 people of district Sujawal, Badin and Thatta, and residents of 70 dangerous buildings of Karachi are prone to the ‘Very Severe Cyclonic Storm’ (VSCS) ‘Biparjoy’, which is likely to hit the coastal belt on June 15.
“We are taking all-out measures to shift the people to secure areas and removing loose installations like billboards, sign boards, and such other weak structures to avoid any untoward incident.”
He said this while addressing a press conference at CM House regarding the VSCS ‘Biparjoy’ at CM House.
He was flanked by provincial ministers Sharjeel Memon and Nasir Shah. The CM said that a VSCS ‘Biparjoy’ over the East-Central Arabian Sea had further moved northward. He said that under the existing upper-level steering winds, it was most likely to track further in the North-Northeast direction towards Southeast Sindh-Indian Gujarat coast.
He quoted the PDMA and Met Office reports saying, “Now cyclonic storm lies near Latitude 19.5°N & Longitude 67.7°E at about 600km South of Karachi, 580km South of Thatta, and 710 km southeast of Ormara.
He further said that maximum sustained surface winds were 160-180 km/hour gusts, 180 km/hour around the system centre and maximum wave height was 35-40 feet.
The favourable environmental conditions (sea surface temperature of 30-31°C), low vertical wind shear & upper-level divergence) are supporting the system to maintain its intensity.
The CM said that under the existing upper-level steering winds, the VSCS “Biparjoy” was most likely to track further Northward until 14 June morning, then recurve Northeastward and cross between Keti Bandar (Southeast Sindh) and Indian Gujarat coast on 15 June afternoon as a VSCS.
Talking about the impact of the storm, Murad Ali Shah said that with its probable approach to the southeast Sindh coast, widespread wind-dust/thunderstorm rain with some very heavy/extremely heavy falls accompanied by squally high-intensity winds of 80-100 km/hour likely in Thatta, Sujawal, Badin, Tharparkar & Umerkot districts during 13-17 June are predicted.
He said that dust/thunderstorm-rains with few heavy falls and accompanied by winds of 60-80 km/hour were likely to batter Karachi, Hyderabad, Tando Muhammad Khan, Tando Allayar, Mirpurkhas districts from 14-16 June. He further said the winds may cause damage to loose and vulnerable structures such as Kutcha houses and solar panels.
Quoting the PDMA and MET office reports, the chief minister said that a storm surge of three to five meters or 8-12 feet was expected at the land falling points such as (Keti Bandar and around). Therefore, he said, that through the district administration, Pak Navy, and Pak Army Fishermen had been called back from the sea and have been directed not to go fishing.
The CM said the government had imposed a complete ban on June 9h under section 144 CrPC on fishing, swimming, bathing, and sailing effectively from June 11.
He directed KMC, DMCs, and Cantonment boards to immediately remove billboards, signboards, and other advertisement material on June 9. He said that Commissioner Karachi Iqbal Memon had been directed to take strict measures.
The chief minister announced an emergency in all major hospitals of Karachi Division and ordered availability of the doctors and paramedical staff during the storm period. He also ordered the availability of de-watering pumps on all choking points to ensure smooth drainage of stormwater.
He directed SBCA, DCs, and cantonment boards to take necessary measures regarding dangerous buildings and scaffolding in under-construction buildings to avert any potential damage.
The CM said that Commissioner Karachi Iqbal Memon, on his directives, held a meeting with all relevant authorities to discuss the emergent situation and ensure implementation of directions like the implementation of section 144CrPC, evacuation of people from dangerous buildings, removal of scaffolding/cranes, loose material, etc from under construction buildings, hoardings, billboards by June 13, placing high alert in hospitals, installation of dewatering pumps in low lying areas, evacuation from Ibrahim Hyderi, Rehri Goth, Lath Basti, Chashma Goth, and others, winching of drains, placement of boards by DHA at dug up roads, cleaning of nullahs, establishing control rooms including at Commissioner office and DC offices.
The CM said that a control room with a 1,299 number had been established at the Commissioner’s Office. Replying to a question, the CM said that 70 buildings declared most dangerous may be vacated. He said that they would not be made homeless but may be shifted to a safer place by the commissioner.
The chief minister, presiding over a meeting at the Conference Room of 31st Creek, Shah Bander, and then at Keti Bander, directed the commissioner Hyderabad Bilal Memon to ensure the safety and security of the people.
The meeting was attended by Minister Local Govt Nasir Shah, DG Rangers Major General Azhar Waqas, Coastal commander Rear Admiral Raja Rabnawaz, GOC Hyderabad Major Gen. Mohammad Hassain, Commodore Jawad Khwaja of Pakistan Maritime, Brigadier Tariq Mehmood of Corp 5, Karachi.