Cyclone may hit coastal areas before midnight, Rehman

KARACHI: Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman has warned that cyclone Biparjoy moving towards Sindh’s coastal areas may hit before midnight today. 

“Cyclonic winds and continuous rainfall are causing a constant alert”, the minister said while addressing a press conference in Islamabad.

“The government will remain on red alert until June 18,” she said.

Although the cyclone is diverting away from Karachi and the city may be spared, it will most likely affect Keti Bandar, Thatta, Sujawal, Badin, and Malar. Keti Bandar is only 155 kilometers away from the coastal cyclone, she said.

Earlier, Rehman spoke to Hum News and commended the efforts of the Sindh government in helping and providing facilities to citizens. 

She warned that the cyclone could submerge certain areas underwater and could reach Hyderabad and Sukkur.

The cyclone , although having moved away from Karachi, is projected to make landfall in Keti Bandar along the Pakistani coast and Gujarat India on Thursday (today).

The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) said that the very severe cyclonic storm has been advancing in a north-northeastward direction over the northeast Arabian Sea.

It was currently positioned around 230km south of Karachi, 235km south of Thatta, and 155km southwest of Keti Bandar.

At the centre of the storm, wind speeds have been recorded between 120-140 km/hour, with gusts reaching up to 150 km/hour. Waves as high as 30 feet are surging within the storm’s vicinity, the PMD said

The Pakistan National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has predicted heavy rainfall in regions including Thatta, Badin, Sajawal, Tharparkar, Mirpurkhas, and Umarkot until June 17.

In the coastal areas of Thatta, the intensity of the cyclone is escalating, with powerful sea waves battering the protective dam of Keti Bandar. As a precautionary measure, the cities of Keti Bandar and Juhu have been evacuated, and affected people have been relocated to relief camps.

The Thar desert is expected to bear the brunt of the cyclone with torrential rains upon its arrival. According to the World Meteorological Agency’s forecast for Thatta, the torrential rains are forecasted to commence on Friday.

Stormy rains are also expected in Badin, Diplo, Mithi, Islamkot, and Umarkot. Wind speeds of up to 110 kilometres per hour are predicted in Thatta and Badin, gradually diminishing to 85 kilometers per hour upon reaching Thar. The storm is set to enter India through the Thar region.

The cyclone has resulted in flooding of the sea in Karachi, with waves rising several feet. Coastal areas of Karachi have experienced intermittent, sometimes heavy, rainfall. The road leading to Seaview has been closed to traffic due to these conditions.

Kemari, Malir, South Karachi, Korangi, Thatta, Sajawal, and Badin are at significant risk of flooding. Construction work on high-rise buildings in Karachi has been halted as per directives from the Sindh Building Control Authority. Forty risky buildings and shops have been evacuated.

The evacuation is under way for the people residing in the coastal areas of Karachi, including Ibrahim Hydari and Chashma Goth.

According to Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon, 60,000 individuals from coastal have been relocated to safe areas, with the remaining 10,000 also being transferred.

He said that 17 campuses have been established at various locations, providing shelter for those affected. Medical facilities have been arranged to cater to the needs of the victims. However, affected individuals have reported a scarcity of food and drinking water at the camps.

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