Fast approaching cyclone forces evacuation of 75,000 people on India’s west coast
AHMEDABAD, India — Authorities in India’s western state of Gujarat evacuated more than 75,000 people from vulnerable coastal communities as cyclone Biparjoy was expected whirl in from the Arabian Sea to make landfall by Thursday evening.
Early on Thursday, the cyclone was centered 180 km (112 miles) off Jakhau port in Gujarat and 270 km (168 miles) off Karachi in Pakistan, the India Meteorological Department said.
The storm appeared to have lost some of its intensity, and is expected to have a maximum sustained wind speed of 115-125 kmph (71-78 miles per hour) gusting to 140 kmph, down from the 150 kmph that the IMD had estimated on Wednesday.
“We have evacuated more than 75,000 persons from the eight coastal districts in Gujarat that are expected to be impacted by the cyclone,” Kamal Dayani, additional chief secretary in Gujarat’s revenue department said.
Temporary thatched houses could be completely destroyed while standing crops, plantations and roads were expected to face major damage, the IMD said in a statement on Wednesday, adding that railways could also face disruption.
Pakistan’s Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman said on Wednesday, Karachi, a port city of 20 million people, was not under immediate threat, but emergency measures were being taken to deal with winds and rain that are expected to batter the economic hub.