Thousands Return Home as Cyclone Biparjoy Subsides in Western India

by Sophia Chen
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Cyclone Biparjoy

Officials announced on Saturday that over 100,000 individuals who sought refuge in relief camps in western India due to Cyclone Biparjoy have begun their journey back home as the storm weakened and moved towards Pakistan.

In the coastal village of Jakhau, where the cyclone made landfall in Gujarat state on Thursday, more than 130 people had already relocated from a government-operated shelter to their residences by midday on Saturday.

Amit Shah, India’s influential Home Minister, was scheduled to visit the village later in the day to assess the situation on the ground.

Although electricity had been restored in many villages, some areas still remained without power. The cyclone had caused the uprooting of trees and electricity poles in numerous coastal communities across Gujarat.

Adam, a boat rental trader in Jakhau, who goes by a single name, remarked, “It was quite frightening, and we were anticipating significant damage. Fortunately, nature’s fury was somewhat less severe than we expected.” He noted that aside from uprooted trees, electricity poles, and minor damage to a few houses, the village had not suffered major destruction.

The cyclone had sustained wind speeds of 85 kph (53 mph) with gusts reaching 105 kph (65 mph) along Gujarat’s coastal areas.

According to the India Meteorological Department, the cyclone had weakened into a deep depression early on Saturday and was projected to further weaken over the next 12 hours.

The full extent of the damage in Gujarat was not immediately known. The Press Trust of India news agency reported that a man and his son lost their lives on Thursday while attempting to save their livestock in Gujarat. Additionally, officials confirmed that 23 people had sustained injuries in various regions.

The Gujarat government deployed 184 rapid action squads to rescue wildlife and clear fallen trees in Gir National Park, which is home to nearly 700 Asiatic lions.

Experts warn that the frequency, duration, and intensity of cyclones in the Arabian Sea have significantly increased between 1982 and 2019, as highlighted by a 2021 study. This trend is expected to persist, emphasizing the urgent need for enhanced preparedness in the face of natural disasters.

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