Coastal Sindh Braces For Cyclone Biparjoy As Chief Minister Inspects Preparations

Coastal Sindh Braces For Cyclone Biparjoy As Chief Minister Inspects Preparations
In anticipation of Cyclone Biparjoy making landfall on Pakistan's coast, Sindh chief minister Syed Murad Ali Shah visited Keti Bunder, a coastal settlement of district Thatta which likely to be most affected by the incoming cyclone system. The Sindh CM urged coastal populations to move to safer area, as heavy rains along with blistering winds have been forecast by provincial disaster management authority (PDMA).

The CM Sindh was apprised by the rescue teams of Pakistan Army during his visit that the cyclone was fast heading towards the Indian coastal towns of Gujarat state, but on its path it would pass by Sindh's coastal areas, including Keti Bunder and other areas of district Thatta Sujawal and Badin, before entering Indian territory.

'All hands on deck'

"Unless we build the capacity to protect our people from calamity after calamity, we would be unable to lessen its effects," CM Sindh Murad Ali Shah said, adding that "from tomorrow the budget session is commencing in the Sindh Assembly, but I have urged elected representatives to visit vulnerable areas and ensure safe evacuation of masses and fisherfolk community".

Syed Murad Ali Shah, chief minister of Pakistan's Sindh province, speaks to reporters at Keti Bunder, a coastal area where Cyclone Biparjoy is expected to make landfall.

The chief minister warned that the current cyclonic system was as strong and dangerous as that of 1999, and asked people of coastal districts to take precautionary measures. CM Murad Ali Shah was referring to the extremely severe cyclonic storm designated ARB-01, which reached peak intensity – winds raging at 125 mph (200km/h) – before making landfall in Pakistan on May 20, 1999. That cyclone raged for another two days afterward, leaving hundreds dead and thousands missing in its wake.

Chief minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah noted that in past emergency situations, the common people usually paid heed to rumours and became complacent, but in the current scenario there was no room for rumour-mongering or hearsay as the PDMA had been keeping people updated right from the beginning.

CM Sindh surveys other areas in potential path of cyclone

During his visit, the provincial chief executive was accompanied by minister Nasir Hussain Shah, Haji Ali Hassan Zardari, provincial minister for relief and rehabilitation Rasool Bux Memon Riaz Hussain Shah, concerned officials of the district, and police officials.

Later on, CM Murad Ali Shah visited the naval base at Keti Bunder to review the arrangements made to deal with the cyclone emergency. Thereafter, CM Shah and his team visited Shahbandar, a coastal town in district Sujawal, where he evaluated the flow of water as well as the intensity and direction of winds.

The chief minister received a briefing from district commissioner Imtiaz Ali Abro and his team about the arrangements made in regard to the cyclone emergency. Earlier, he took an aerial of coastal localities and protective dykes. After visiting Keti Bunder and Shahbunder, the chief minister headed to Badin to inspect preparations for the cyclone.

250 fishing boats yet to return

Despite a rain emergency declared by the district government, around 250 boats belonging to fishermen of the Sujawal district could not return to jetties, triggering a sense of unrest among their relatives.

Heavy spells of rain coupled with gusty winds have been forecast in Thatta, Sujawal, and Badin from Tuesday, June 13. Sea tides are likely to rise by 8 to 10 feet.

The author is a practicing lawyer and freelance journalist. His areas of interest are cultural diversity and socio-political issues of Sindh.