India, Pakistan brace for fast approaching cyclone

Mandvi, Karachi June 15 (BNA): Authorities in the western Indian state of Gujarat evacuated more than 75,000 people from vulnerable coastal communities as Cyclone Pebarjoy is expected to spurt from the Arabian Sea and make landfall by Thursday evening.

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said the storm, which is classified as a very intense cyclone, was centered around 180 kilometers (112 miles) from the port of Jahau in Gujarat and 270 kilometers (168 miles) off Karachi early Thursday. in Pakistan. .

The storm appears to have lost some intensity and is expected to have maximum sustained winds of 115-125 kilometers per hour (71-78 mph) reaching 140 kilometers per hour, down from the 150 kilometers per hour estimated by the IMD on Wednesday. .

There has been no change in its trajectory, and the cyclone is still expected to make landfall near the port of Jaco in India, between Mandvi in ​​Gujarat and Karachi, IMD said.

In the coastal town of Mandvi, a Reuters witness said that while the wind was strong, the sky was blue and the sun was setting on Thursday morning, shops began to open and people took to the streets.

“Thursday morning, wind speeds of up to 90 km per hour were reported on the Gujarat coast,” a senior IMD official said.

“The speed will gradually increase in the next few hours to reach 120 kmph, reaching 135 kmph in the afternoon. We expect landfall in the evening when the wind speed is even higher.”

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Halls of halls in schools and other government buildings have been converted into relief camps to provide shelter to the displaced in both India and Pakistan.

Ships and boats were removed from some areas of the Pakistani coast while hospitals in the area were put on high alert as part of preparations for the cyclone.

Pakistan’s Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman said Karachi, a port city of 20 million people, was not under immediate threat, but emergency measures were being taken to deal with winds and rains that are expected to batter the economic hub.

“There will be ongoing voluntary evacuations in the city of Karachi, and it’s kind of, it’s not directly in the eye of the storm like the coastal areas…but it’s definitely going to feel the brunt of the high density and the high speed. Karachi residents are stocking up on basic food and grain,” Rahman said.

IMD said in a statement that thatched roof temporary homes in the coastal state of Gujarat could be completely demolished while crops, farms and roads are expected to suffer severe damage, adding that railways may also face disruption.

Indian authorities suspended fishing until Friday, closed schools and prevented people from using beaches.

Many major offshore and port oil facilities, which line the coasts of Gujarat, have suspended operations.


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