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AHMEDABAD/MUMBAI: Four boys drowned in rough seas off the western Indian financial hub of Mumbai on Tuesday as India and Pakistan began evacuating people from coastal areas, two days before a cyclone is expected to make landfall.

Classified as a very severe cyclonic storm, Biparjoy is expected to land around Thursday evening between Mandvi in India’s Gujarat province and Karachi in southern Pakistan.

Meteorologists predict maximum sustained wind speeds of 125-135 km (78-84 miles) per hour, gusting to 150 km (93 miles) per hour.

“Four boys drowned at Juhu beach on Monday evening. So far, we have found the bodies of two, and the search is still ongoing to locate the remaining two,” said a police official in Mumbai, south of Gujarat.

High waves in the Arabian Sea, accompanied by heavy rains and gusting winds pounded Gujarat’s coastal areas, uprooting trees and resulting in a wall collapse that killed three people in Kutch and Rajkot districts, authorities said.

Eight districts in coastal Gujarat are expected to be affected, the state government said. Fishing has been suspended until Friday and schools have declared holidays.

Gujarat is home to many offshore oil installations and major ports in the country and most have been forced to suspend operations.

A 1998 cyclone killed at least 4,000 people and caused hundreds of millions of dollars of damage in Gujarat.

Relief Commissioner Alok Kumar Pandey said that more than 20,500 people have been evacuated from coastal districts and the evacuation was expected to be completed by Tuesday evening.

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