Tropical cyclone Biparjoy is set to make landfall today at Gujarat in India close to the Pakistan border as both countries evacuated over 150,000 people ahead of the storm. The severe cyclonic storm was last spotted just 180km from the Jakhau port of Gujarat this morning and 270km off Karachi in Pakistan, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said. The cyclone, which has lost some intensity in the last 24 hours, is expected to make landfall this evening at 5.30pm local time, the IMD said. It is expected to have a maximum sustained wind speed of 115-125kph gusting to 140 kph, down from the 150kph that the IMD had estimated yesterday. Authorities in India’s Gujarat and Pakistan’s Sindh province have evacuated more than 100,000 people so far from vulnerable coastal communities as heavy rains and gusts of wind are set to worsen. Biparjoy is this year’s first major storm threatening India and the first major disaster posing a threat to Pakistan after last year’s devastating floods killed 1,700 people.
The number of evacuees from India and Pakistan has risen up to 150,000 as cyclone Biparjoy inched very close to the coastlines of South Asian nations. Over 94,000 people have been moved out from coastal areas in India alone to shelters, while authorities in Pakistan’s Sindh said over 81,000 people were evacuated from the south-eastern coast to 75 relief camps at schools. This number is expected to rise further as authorities assess the dangers posed by the cyclone as it inches closer. Four deaths have already been reported in India (see post below) from extreme weather brought on by the cyclone while rainfall has been wreaking havoc in Pakistan for days killing dozens.