Biparjoy: India, Pakistan evacuate thousands ahead of cyclone

Rising tide at Dwarka Gomti Ghat in Gujarat
Image caption,Heavy rains and high tides have been forecast in several coastal districts in Gujarat

By Meryl Sebastian

BBC News

Tens of thousands have been evacuated in India and Pakistan as parts of the countries brace for an extremely severe cyclone to hit on Thursday evening.

Biparjoy – a cyclone over the Arabian Sea – is forecast to make landfall in Kutch in the western Indian state of Gujarat.

In Pakistan, the storm is expected to hit the coast of Sindh province and affect parts of Karachi city.

Seven people have died in India amid heavy rains.

The Gujarat government said it has evacuated nearly 38,000 people to safety from its coastal districts. The weather office has warned people of blackouts and floods.

Trains in the region have been suspended while the ports of Kandla and Mundra – two of the largest in the country – have stopped operations, authorities said.

The Indian Coast Guard said it evacuated 50 workers from an oil rig off the Gujarat coast on Tuesday.

People have been told to avoid visiting beaches and fishermen have been asked to not venture into the sea.

The Indian Coast Guard preps
Image caption,Authorities in Gujarat prepare as the state braces for Cyclone Biparjoy

Three people were killed in Kutch and Rajkot districts as heavy rains and strong winds hit Gujarat’s coastal areas, uprooting trees and resulting in a wall collapse, authorities said.

As the cyclone drew closer to the coast on Wednesday, our correspondent on the ground Tejas Vaidya reported high tides in the Dwarka region.

In Kutch, strong waves swept away several tents located on Mandvi beach – a popular tourist destination.

Authorities are evacuating everyone within 10km (6.2 miles) of the area, BBC Gujarati correspondent Roxy Gadkegar reports.

Teams from the army, navy and state and national relief forces are helping with the evacuation efforts.

Several parts of neighbouring Maharashtra state have also witnessed heavy rain and high tidal waves.

Four boys, who went missing after venturing into the Arabian Sea off Mumbai’s Juhu area, were found dead on Monday evening, police said.

In Pakistan, the national disaster management authority had moved around 65,000 people from the coasts of Sindh to safer locations by Wednesday morning.

The country’s National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) says the cyclone is only 300km away from the coastal area of Kati Bandar.

Residents evacuate from a coastal area of Keti Bandar before the due onset of cyclone Biparjoy, in Thatta district of Pakistan's Sindh province on June 13, 2023.
Image caption,Thousands have been evacuated to relief camps in Pakistan

The weather office forecast heavy rains and squalls for the Karachi, Hyderabad, Tando Allayar, Shaheed Benazirabad, and Sanghar districts.

Pakistan is still reeling from the aftermath of the devastating 2022 floods which submerged large parts of the country and killed almost 1,700 people.

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