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Wind-driven rain pelts shores of India, Pakistan as Cyclone Biparjoy pushes into coast

by Michael Nguyen
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Cyclone Biparjoy

Cyclone Biparjoy Hits India and Pakistan, Causing Wind and Rain havoc

The coasts of western India and southern Pakistan were battered by wind-driven rain as Cyclone Biparjoy made landfall. The cyclone posed a significant threat of storm surges and flash floods due to heavy rainfall.

Both countries had taken proactive measures, relocating 173,000 people to shelters in anticipation of the cyclone’s arrival. Preparations were also made to ensure water supply and communication services after the storm subsided. Pakistan’s southern province of Sindh, which was devastated by floods the previous summer, lay in the direct path of the cyclone.

Throughout Thursday, the skies darkened along the Arabian Sea, and dust storms hindered evacuation and rescue operations on land. Cyclone Biparjoy had maximum sustained winds of 120 kph (75 mph), with gusts reaching up to 140 kph (86 mph). It was expected to weaken as it moved further into Gujarat state, India.

Authorities in India’s Kutch district, near Jakhau port where the cyclone hit, braced for a significant surge in the sea. Keti Bandar in Pakistan’s Sindh province also lay in the cyclone’s trajectory. Biparjoy was projected to reach Pakistan’s southern coastal areas by midnight.

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The usually vibrant coastal town of Mandvi, India, with its renowned wooden boat-makers, stood deserted on Thursday due to government-imposed shutdown orders. Strong winds and rain had already uprooted several trees in the area.

In southern Pakistan, amid dust storms and rain, displaced families were visibly distressed at relief camps. Eighty-two-year-old Bachai Bibi from Badin district in Sindh province expressed uncertainty about the fate of her home.

Mohammad Ashraf, 35, recounted how local officials assisted him, his wife, and three children in escaping from the Pakistani village of Sheikh, located in the storm’s path.

In India, 100,000 people sought refuge in relief camps to weather the storm, while in Pakistan, 73,000 individuals were evacuated to safer locations where authorities provided shelter and food. Lt. Gen. Inam Haider Malik, head of the National Disaster Management Authority, confirmed these efforts.

Last summer, Pakistan’s Sindh province experienced historic floods, partly attributed to climate change, resulting in the loss of at least 1,739 lives and displacing 33 million people.

The World Health Organization offered support to Pakistan’s cyclone response efforts. Pakistan’s government and local aid groups supplied free food and clean drinking water to displaced individuals.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif tweeted on Wednesday, assuring that his government had taken all necessary measures to ensure the safety of those at risk in southern Sindh province. He stated, “Preparations have been made to handle any kind of emergency as a result of rains and strong winds in Karachi, while the evacuation of fishermen from the sea and the population on the coastal areas is going on rapidly.”

Gujarat state Health Minister Rushikesh Patel confirmed that detailed preparations had been made for post-cyclone recovery work, including the restoration of electricity infrastructure, mobile networks, and other essential services.

Coastal religious sites in Gujarat, India, were closed, and numerous train services were canceled.

India’s Meteorological Department warned of a storm surge ranging from 2 to 3 meters (6.5 to 10 feet) above the tide, which could inundate low-lying areas and potentially reach as high as 6 meters (19.5 feet) in some places.

To ensure continuous communication during potential disruptions to mobile networks, the Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority deployed six ham radio teams across coastal districts.

UNICEF highlighted the immediate risk faced by over 625,000 children in both nations. Noala Skinner, UNICEF’s regional director for South Asia, expressed concern about the new crisis faced by children and families in Pakistan’s Sindh province, which had been severely affected by last year’s devastating floods.

A study conducted in 2021 revealed a significant increase in the frequency, duration, and intensity of cyclones in the Arabian Sea between 1982 and 2019. Experts predict this upward trend will continue, underscoring the urgency of disaster preparedness.


Ahmed reported from Islamabad, and Arasu reported from Bengaluru, India. Muhammad Farooq, a writer from Big Big News in Badin, Pakistan, contributed to this story.


For AP’s coverage of climate change, visit https://bigbignews.net/climate-and-environment


Big Big News’ climate and environmental coverage receives support from various private foundations. Learn more about AP’s climate initiative here. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Cyclone Biparjoy

What is Cyclone Biparjoy?

Cyclone Biparjoy is a severe weather system that hit the coasts of India and Pakistan, bringing heavy rain, strong winds, and the potential for storm surges and flooding.

How many people were evacuated in preparation for Cyclone Biparjoy?

Both India and Pakistan moved approximately 173,000 people to shelters ahead of the cyclone to ensure their safety.

Which areas were most affected by Cyclone Biparjoy?

The cyclone impacted the western shores of India, particularly Gujarat state, and the southern province of Sindh in Pakistan, where preparations were made to handle the storm’s impact.

What were the measures taken by authorities to address the cyclone’s impact?

Authorities in both countries made preparations to provide essential supplies such as water, shelter, and food to affected areas. Evacuation efforts, restoration of infrastructure, and maintaining communication services were also prioritized.

Was there any previous severe flooding in the affected regions?

Yes, Pakistan’s Sindh province experienced historic floods the previous summer, resulting in significant devastation. The cyclone posed an additional threat to this region already affected by climate-induced floods.

How does the increasing frequency of cyclones in the Arabian Sea affect disaster preparedness?

Studies indicate a rise in the frequency, duration, and intensity of cyclones in the Arabian Sea. This underscores the urgency for disaster preparedness measures to mitigate the impact of future cyclones and protect vulnerable communities.

How were communication challenges addressed during the cyclone?

To overcome potential disruptions to mobile networks, the Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority deployed ham radio teams to maintain communication during the cyclone, as ham radios do not rely on mobile towers, electricity, or internet connectivity.

What support was provided to affected populations?

Efforts were made by the government, aid groups, and international organizations like UNICEF to provide displaced individuals with free food, clean drinking water, and other necessary supplies. Support for children and families, particularly in Sindh province, was a priority.

More about Cyclone Biparjoy

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