India, Pakistan begin evacuating thousands as Biparjoy approaches

New Delhi/Islamabad, Jun 12 (EFE).- India and Pakistan on Monday began evacuating thousands of people from coastal areas who are at risk as the cyclone Biparjoy approaches.

The cyclone, categorized as “extremely severe,” is expected to make landfall on Thursday.

“So far, we have been able to evacuate 1.100 people out of 4,500 estimated population that are lying in either low lying areas or very close to the sea,” Ashok Sharma, district collector of Devbhumi Dwarka in the western Indian state of Gujarat, told EFE.

In neighboring Morbi district, deputy collector N.K. Muchhar told EFE that some 1,000 people have been evacuated and the authorities hope to mobilize “all the villages within five kilometers of the coast.”

The western Indian state remains on alert against the arrival of Biparjoy, which is expected to bring gusts of up to 145 kilometers per hour as well as heavy rains in the coastal areas, according to the India Meteorological Department.

Several teams of the National Disaster Response Force have been deployed in the state, while several others remain on standby, the office of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a statement on Monday.

According to the Indian authorities, the cyclone will hit the Gujarat coast at noon on Thursday after changing course during the weekend, when it was expected to make landfall around the southern Pakistani city of Karachi.

In neighboring Pakistan, the authorities have also begun evacuating thousands of people in the southern province of Sindh, fearing a repeat of the 1999 cyclone tragedy that left more than 6,000 people dead.

“As part of the cyclone preparedness measures, the Sindh government has decided to evacuate areas along the coast. It started last night with 2,000 evacuees from small islands,” provincial government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab told EFE.

The Pakistani authorities plan to “evacuate more than 50,000 people,” Wahab said.

According to Pakistan Meteorological Department chief Sardar Sarfraz, both the strength and the trajectory of Biparjoy is similar to the cyclone that devastated the south of the country in 1999.

“Its current speed is the same as it was in 1999 (…) Biparjoy also came into being almost at the same place where the cyclone of 1999 came into existence. We find a lot of similarities between the 1999 storm and the current one,” he told EFE on Monday.

Cyclones are common on the Indian coast. In 2021, Cyclone Tauktae hit India’s western coast leaving at least 145 people dead. EFE


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