India and Pakistan are bracing themselves as they remain on high alert in anticipation of the approaching cyclone named Biparjoy, which has been classified as “extremely severe.”
The Pakistan Meteorological Department has issued warnings of Cyclone Biporjoy, high-intensity winds, and torrential rains expected on Thursday when the cyclone is projected to make landfall along the coastal areas of both countries India and Pakistan.
According to an agency official, Biparjoy is approximately 760 kilometres (about 470 miles) from the Pakistani coast, with Karachi, the commercial capital, falling within the probable landfall zone.
Sardar Sarfraz, an official from the meteorological department, reported that the cyclone’s intensity has escalated, now classified as “extremely severe” after initially being categorized as “highly severe.”
Cyclone Biparjoy is traversing the international sea boundary between southeastern Pakistan and India’s western Gujarat province. Sarfraz cautioned that the cyclone is most likely to strike the southeastern coastal regions of Pakistan, bringing winds ranging from 100-120 kilometres per hour and tides as high as 4 meters (approximately 13 feet), which could result in coastal areas being inundated by flooding.
In response to the imminent threat, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has instructed rescue agencies to undertake comprehensive efforts to manage the situation in the event of potential floods and heavy rainfall.
While mandatory evacuation orders have not yet been issued, the government of Sindh province, where Karachi is located and boasts a population of over 14 million, has enforced a ban on fishing in the open sea until June 20.
Additionally, the region’s rescue workers have suspended their holidays, and public access to beaches in Karachi has been prohibited. Port officials have relocated ships and boats from the city’s two ports to safer areas.
Although cyclones have previously struck Pakistan’s coastal provinces of Sindh and Balochistan, they have not reached the magnitude anticipated with Biparjoy, unlike the neighbouring countries of Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka, where such storms have caused significant destruction.
The 1999 Keti Bandar, classified as a category-3 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale, was the most powerful cyclone on record to hit Pakistan. This cyclone resulted in the loss of 6,200 lives in Thatta district, a poverty-stricken region in Sindh province, where Biparjoy is also projected to make landfall.
In India, the Meteorological Department has advised the complete suspension of fishing activities in the east-central and adjoining west-central Arabian Sea until June 15. Anglers are also cautioned against venturing into the central and northern parts of the Arabian Sea between June 12 and 15.
The Indian Coast Guard has announced that preemptive measures in response to Cyclone Biparjoy are ongoing in the Arabian Sea. As mentioned in their earlier tweet, the Coast Guard’s ships and aircraft on the western seaboard have disseminated weather warnings to mariners and fishermen at sea.