Cyclone Bibarjoy makes landfall in India and Pakistan with heavy rains

Islamabad and New Delhi

Tropical cyclone Biparjoy created the landscape India’s Western Gujarat state is nearby Pakistan Along the border, strong winds uprooted trees and toppled power poles.

At landfall, Bibarjoy was equivalent to a strong tropical storm with winds of 65 mph (100 kph), the Joint Typhoon Warning Center said.

As it slowly moves inland, wind and storm surge threats are expected to diminish, with flooding becoming the most significant impact for millions of people over the next 48 hours.

Heavy rain warning is expected to remain in northwest India till Saturday. Rainfall of 150 to 250 mm (6 to 10 in) is possible with isolated amounts of up to 500 mm (20 in).

In Pakistan, the Met Office has warned of widespread dust storms and thunderstorms in southern Sindh province, with some very heavy rain and gusts of 50-60 mph (80-100 kph).

Video and photos broadcast on local Indian television showed roads turning into rivers, trees bending in the wind and people wading waist-deep in floodwaters.

As of Friday morning local time, there were no deaths in Pakistan or India, although four boys drowned on a beach in the Indian financial center of Mumbai earlier this week.

Indian Army and Coast Guard are on standby for rescue and relief operations.

Akhtar Soomro/Reuters

Suraj, 32, a fisherman and diver, pulls a sheet to cover his belongings, with rain clouds in the background, before the arrival of Cyclone Bibarjai in the Arabian Sea on June 15, 2023 in Karachi, Pakistan.

Ahead of the storm, India and Pakistan took mass security measures to ensure minimum damage and loss of life. About 180,000 people have been evacuated from the worst-hit areas in both countries, officials said.

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Cattle were also moved to the highlands, some schools were closed, and fishing in Gujarat state was halted. India’s two major ports have also stopped functioning.

Francis Mascarenhas/Reuters

A man rides a motorcycle through a waterlogged street in Mandvi, ahead of Cyclone Bibarjoy, in India’s western state of Gujarat on June 15, 2023.

Meanwhile, in Pakistan, malls and businesses along the coast of its largest city, Sindh’s capital, Karachi, are closed. Pakistan’s national airline, PIA, has implemented precautionary measures including round-the-clock security to minimize potential risks.

According to the National Disaster Management Authority, fishermen have been advised to stay away from the sea and emergency personnel have been deployed in hospitals.

AFP/Getty Images

On June 13, 2023, residents were evacuated from the coastal region of Pakistan’s Sindh province.

Biparjoy moved through the northeast Arabian Sea towards southern Pakistan and western India since late last week with maximum sustained winds of 160 kph (100 mph) and gustiness of 195 kph (121 mph). It weakened as it approached land, but the region experienced heavy rain, damaging winds and coastal storms in the days leading up to its landfall.

It comes less than a year after record monsoon rains and melting glaciers ravaged Pakistan’s landscapes, killing nearly 1,600 people.

Experts also say the storm is a sign of a growing climate crisis.

In a 2021 study by researchers from the Shenzhen Institute of Materials Innovation and the Chinese University of Hong Kong and published in Frontiers in Earth Science, scientists say Asia’s tropical cyclones could double in destructive power by the end of the century. The man-made climate crisis is already strengthening them.

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