KARACHI: Authorities in coastal regions of Pakistan are preparing for high winds and possible flooding and destruction from an approaching tropical storm.
The National Disaster Management Authority said Saturday that 7,000 people have been moved to safety from low-lying areas close to the southern city of Karachi.
Tropical Storm Phet, downgraded from a cyclone, hit Oman on Friday, killing two people and causing heavy rains and winds.
The meteorological office says the storm is expected to make landfall in Pakistan early Sunday with winds of up to 50 miles (80 kilometers) per hour. About 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) of coastline could be affected.
Cyclone Phet is heading towards Pakistan and is only 400 km away, according to a warning issued by the Cyclone Warning Center on Saturday.
The weather has already affected Pakistanis as 20 peoples have been killed due to torrential rains and winds in Baluchistan, Sindh and Punjab.
According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department’s Cyclone Warning Center, the direction of the cyclone is towards the north-east, which is the location between Karachi and Pasni.
The center informed all the provincial authorities about the effects of the cyclone.
Pakistan Navy, provincial departments and other bodies were on high alert.
Also on Saturday, sever rains with gusty winds were reported in Balochistan and Punjab. Thirty people have also been injured as a result of these.
Chief Minister of Balochistan, Nawab Aslam Raisani immediately released Rs.50 million for any possible emergency which could be caused by Cyclone Phet.
Pasni, Gwadar and other coastal areas have reported having no electricity due to heavy rains. High tides have also been observed in the Jiwani waters.
Pakistan Navy has been doing search and rescue operations for the fishermen and local dwellers.
According to Pakistan Navy, there will be harsh winds and rains in Baluchistan after 36 hours.
Dozens of villages in the coastal line of Thatta have been submerged by the high tide in the Arabian Sea, preceding a cyclone which is predicted to hit the coast of Oman on June 15.
The villagers, although savvy of the regular tidal onslaught during this time of the year, evacuated to dry land after their villages started to submerge.
According to the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF), a non-profit organisation working for the rights of the fishing community, the fishermen were not even warned against going out to sea. “Around 100 boats from several villages went to sea early in the morning,” claimed PFF’s Umar Mallah. “Nearly 500 fishermen are on-board these boats that are now stranded in the sea. The government should launch an early rescue operation to bring them back to the shore.”