KARACHI: As cyclone Biparjoy moved closer to Karachi and other coastal cities, the sea level has started rising along Sindh's coastal belt, prompting evacuations of a large number of people to safer places at a massive scale from the Keti Bandar area in Thatta District.
Biparjoy — which has been downgraded from extremely severe cyclonic storm to very severe cyclonic storm (VSCS) — moved further north-northwestward during the last 12 hours, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Department's (PMD) latest advisory.
According to latest update issued by the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), the cyclone moved further north-northwestward during last six hours, and now lies near Latitude 21.2°N and Longitude 66.6°E at a distance of about 380km south of Karachi and 390km south of Thatta.
The PMD stated that maximum sustained surface winds are 140-150km/hour gusts 170km/hour around the system centre, and sea conditions are "phenomenal" around the system centre with a maximum wave height of 30 feet.
The favourable environmental conditions (sea surface temperature of 29-31°C, low vertical wind shear, and upper-level divergence) are in support of sustaining its strength through the forecast period.
Under the existing upper-level steering winds, the cyclone is most likely to track further northward until the morning of 14th June, then recurve northeastward and cross between Keti Bandar (Southeast Sindh) and Indian Gujarat coast on 15th June afternoon/evening as a very severe cyclonic storm with packing winds of 100-120Km/hour.
Karachi Corps Commander Lieutenant General Babar Iftikhar held an emergency meeting last night regarding the preparations made in Badin ahead of Biparjoy.
Military officials and heads of civil institutions, including Sindh Rangers Director General and Hyderabad GOC, participated in the meeting.
The persons concerned briefed the corps commander on the preparations, who expressed satisfaction with the timely arrangements.
"All resources will be used to deal with potential threats," the corps commander directed the officials, adding that Pakistan Army troops have already reached various places in case rescue efforts are needed.
"Under no circumstances will the people be left alone," he said.
Instructions have been issued to all garrisons of the Pakistan Army regarding public assistance and rescue missions on an emergency basis.
Fresh troops of the Pakistan Army have been dispatched from Hyderabad, Badin, and Malir cantonments to help the civil administration.
The troops will assist the administration in evacuating vulnerable populations from the coastal belt. Around 90,000 citizens from the coastal areas of Thatta, Sajawal, and Badin have to be shifted to safer places.
Moreover, all garrisons of Karachi Corps have been readied for all kinds of relief activities and management of affected people.
"Evacuation continues from Keti Bandar and the islands due to possible hurricane," Thatta Deputy Commissioner (DC) Farooq Soomro said, sharing an update on the progress of bringing people to safe locations.
He said that victims had been shifted to relief camps set up in Keti Bandar and Baghan schools.
"Pakistan Army, Marine Security, Rangers, and elected representatives are helping people evacuate," the DC said, adding that the approaching cyclone was affecting weather patterns in the area.
"The sea is cloudy, very hot, and humid. Other areas, including Keti Bandar are experiencing extreme heat and humidity," he said.
The DC further shared that the meteorological department forecast rain in the afternoon of the coastal belt.
The district administration of Badin has said that vulnerable people are being transferred to the relief camps of Golarchi and Baghra Memon.
Administration officials added that Badin and its surrounding areas are also experiencing an increase in heat intensity.
Among the affected areas is Chashma Goth, where seawater continues to increase and has reached roadsides. However, residents have not vacated their homes yet.
Moreover, fishermen at the Rehri Goth jetty have said that the water level at the jetty is increasing, submerging some parts of the jetty in the evening hours.
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