Ahmedabad/Mumbai, June 14 (BNA): Four boys drowned in rough seas off western India’s financial hub Mumbai on Tuesday as India and Pakistan began evacuating people from coastal areas, two days before the cyclone was expected to make landfall.
Reuters reported that Pebarjoy, which is classified as a severe cyclonic storm, is expected to make landfall on Thursday evening between Mandvi in the Indian province of Gujarat and Karachi in southern Pakistan.
Meteorologists predict maximum wind speeds of 125-135 km (78-84 mph), gusts to 150 km (93 mph).
“Four boys drowned on Juhu beach on Monday night. So far we have found two dead bodies and the search is on to locate the remaining two,” a police official in Mumbai, south of Gujarat, said.
Authorities said huge waves in the Arabian Sea, accompanied by heavy rain and strong winds, battered coastal areas in Gujarat state, uprooting trees and causing a wall collapse that killed three people in Kutch and Rajkot districts.
The state government said eight districts in the coastal state of Gujarat are expected to be affected. Hunting has been suspended until Friday and schools declared a holiday.
Gujarat is home to many of the country’s major offshore and port oil facilities and most of them have had to suspend operations.
Relief Commissioner Alok Kumar Pandey said more than 20,500 people had been evacuated from coastal areas and the evacuation was expected to be completed by Tuesday evening.
In neighboring Pakistan, paramilitaries and local civilian authorities have also begun moving people to shelters and relief camps, which are set up in schools and other government buildings, said Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman.
Rehman added that ships and boats have been moved from some areas of the Pakistani coast while hospitals in the area have been put on high alert.
About 100,000 people will be evacuated by Wednesday morning, said the head of Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority.
The state government said two of India’s largest ports, Kandla and Mundra, had suspended operations. Other ports, including Bedi, Navlakhi, Porbandar, Oka, Bipav and Bhavnagar, were also closed due to the cyclone, according to shipping sources.
The Indian Coast Guard said it had evacuated 50 personnel from an oil rig off the coast of Gujarat state called K Singapore.
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