Late evening of 15th June, near the Jakhau port in Kutch, Gujarat, the Very Severe Cyclonic Storm (VSCS) BIPARJOY made landfall, with gushing winds up to 150 km/h and gusts up to 180 km/h. With thousands adversely impacted, 6 people have been killed so far and 94,000 relocated to relief camps. Bangladesh named the cyclone ‘Biparjoy’, translating to ‘calamity’ or ‘disaster’ in the Bengali language. The cyclone is expected to cause serious ramifications along the Western coastline, making its way to Pakistan. In India, armed forces have been deployed along the border region to assist the rural population. As of today, over 1700 villages, 75 coasts and 41 ports remain at imminent risk.
Impact in India:
- The storm has been causing disrupted transport networks – flights and trains were cancelled. Jamnagar Airport suspended operations and several airports are likely to halt commercial operations until weather conditions improve. 99 trains originating, terminating or transiting through Biparjoy affected areas were cancelled by the Western Railway. Additionally, the Kandla Port was closed, leading to traffic congestion at Gandhidham.
- The Indian Meteorological Department issued a Red alert for Saurashtra and Kutcch. Several tourist spots including the famous Dwarkadish temple and Somnath Temple in Gir have been closed to devotees until further notice. Lifeguards have been deployed at the Juhu beach in Mumbai.
- Authorities issued a Red alert for several parts of Rajasthan- in Barmer, Jalore, Jodhpur, Pali, and Nagaur. Popular destinations such as Jaipur, Ajmer, and Tonk are placed under an orange alert.
- Due to strong winds and thunderstorms, trees were uprooted and infrastructure was seriously damaged. Tents set up at the Mandvi beach in Kutcchh have been swept away due to severe weather conditions. In Mumbai, at least 4 people were killed after venturing into the sea in Juhu. Fishing activities remain suspended.
- Over 900 villages are experiencing electricity outages due to deracinated trees and electric poles.
Impact in Pakistan:
- The cyclone is expected to be located roughly 400 km away from Karachi and is forecasted to make landfall near Keti Bandar, along the Sindh coastline. Areas likely to be affected include – Thatta, Badin, Sajawal, Tharparkar, Karachi, Mirpurkhas, Umerkot, Hyderabad, Ormara, Tando Allah Yar and Tando Muhammad Khan in the Sindh province.
- The Civil Aviation Authority released a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) for Karachi, Sukkur, Mohenjodaro, and Nawabshah airports stating that permission for take-off and landing would not be granted if the winds exceed 30 nautical miles.
- At least 40,000 people have been evacuated or relocated from risk-prone areas as a pre-emptive measure and the authorities have planned to evacuate up to 100,000 people.
- As of 16 June, the Pakistan Meteorological Department stated that the cyclone weakened into a ‘severe cyclonic storm’ from a VSCS. Coastal areas in Sindh, including Sujawal, were inundated by high sea levels. However, no injuries have been reported so far. Sujawal, Nooriabad, Thatta, and Badin remain flagged as vulnerable districts. Karachi remains on high alert which reported heavy rain in some parts of the southern metropolis. Local authorities have been advised to remain on alert until Saturday, 17 June.
- Power outages may be expected as transmission lines are likely to be damaged.
- If travelling in these areas be cautious and consult local meteorological reports wherever available. Heavy rains could cause flooding and landslides, and high winds may cause dangerous sea conditions. Travellers should avoid travelling in affected areas since essential services, including transportation, may be disrupted. Avoid contact with flood water due to the possible risk of contamination.
- Expect and prepare for a limited power supply. Keep your cellphone batteries charged, and surge-protect your appliances. Switch off all non-essential electrical appliances to avoid power surges when the power resumes.
- It is advisable to prepare an emergency kit containing a portable battery, torch, water, dried or canned food, matches, lamps, first aid kit, to name a few. Keep emergency phone numbers handy.
- Flight and rail operations may be impacted. Contact your travel provider and stay informed about the status of the disruptions. Monitor local media for further information and warnings.
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