Army relocates thousands to safety as cyclone inches closer to coasline

Karachi: As part of its ongoing relief operations, the Pakistan army on Wednesday shifted thousands of people living along Sindh’s coastline to safe places as the Biparjoy cyclone — a very severe storm over the Arabian Sea — is steadly inching towards the shores of Sindh.

According to army, 82 per cent of the population along the coastline has been successfully relocated to safe places.

The officials confirmed that the relocation was expected to be completed by Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, the army has set up 14 relief camps in Sajawal and Badin, and nine camps in Thatta.

Corps Commander Karachi Lt-Gen Babar Iftikhar is supervising the relief operation. He has directed army personnel to remain on high alert for the next 72 hours.

“Help the people in this challenging hour,” lt-Gen Iftikhar said urging all army personnel and Rangers to cooperate with the civil administration in the relief and rescue operation.

On Wednesay, Karachi witnessed strong winds, rains and high tides as the city administration issued an alert for residents living along the seaside.

According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), the cyclone was at a distance of around 380km south of Karachi and 390km south of Thatta .

“As Biparjoy approaches the coastlines of southeast Sindh, widespread wind-dust and thunderstorm rain with extremely heavy falls are likely to hit Thatta and surrounding areas from June 13 to 17,” the PDM predicted.

“Biparjoy is 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/evening with severe packing winds. A storm surge of 3-3.5 metres is expected to hit Keti Bandar and surrounding areas with a high chance of inundating low-lying settlements,” it said

“On its approach to the Sindh coast, widespread wind-dust and extreme rainfall is likely to hit Thatta and surrounding areas from June 13 to 17,” the PMD said.

“Dust and thunderstorm-rain with few heavy falls likely in Karachi, Hyderabad, Tando Muhammad Khan, Tando Allayar, Shaheed Benazirabad and Sanghar districts from 14 -16 June. Dust and thunderstorm-rain with isolated heavy falls has also been forecast for Hub and Labella districts of Balochistan during 14-16 June,” it said.

“The favourable environmental conditions (sea surface temperature of 29-30°C, low vertical wind shear & upper-level divergence) are in support to sustain its strength through the forecast period”, the PMD says.

The PMD said that its cyclone warning centre is continuously monitoring the system and will issue updates accordingly.


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