KARACHI, Oct 3: Fishermen and farmers in Thatta spent an uneasy night as a tropical cyclone pummelled the coastal areas of Sindh in the early hours of Sunday, killing at least two men and leaving a trail of devastation in its wake.
The director-general of the Pakistan Meteorological Department, Dr Qamaruzzaman Chaudhry, said the cyclone 03-A which had now weakened would cause more rains in the coastal areas of Sindh on Sunday night and Monday.
"The cyclone 03-A struck the southern-most part of Sindh at around 4am after dissipating its energy. Thatta was the worst hit, where rainfall over the last 36 hours has totalled 145 millimetres, followed by Mirpurkhas (126mm) and Hyderabad (99mm)," said Dr Chaudhry.
The cyclone also wreaked havoc on the electricity network, causing prolonged power breakdowns. The PMD director-general said the cyclone also pounded the neighbouring Gujarat coast of India, adding that it now lay exhausted as a deep low pressure system, generating strong winds and causing scattered rains in Lower Sindh, especially Thatta, Mirpurkhas, Badin, Tharparkar and Mithi.
Dr Chaudhry warned fishermen against venturing out into the sea for the next 24 hours. Another official of the Met Office said the areas which received rains caused by the cyclone were Talhar (80mm), Samaro (78mm), Badin (76mm), Keti Bandar (90mm), Matli (67mm), Qasimabad (66mm), Petaro (66mm), Tando Allahyar (59mm), Tando Mohammad Khan (56mm), Diplo (56mm), Tando Bagho (55mm), Digri (54mm), K.G. Mohammad (49mm), Chhor (67mm), Matiari (47mm), Kunri (40mm), Umarkot (39mm), Hala (37mm), Mirpursakro (35mm), Karachi (35mm), Mithi (23mm), Sujawal (20mm), Jati (20mm), Shah Bandar (10mm), Pano Aqil (10mm), Rohri/Sukkur (8mm), Nawabshah (8mm), Sanghar (6mm), Ghotki (5mm).
Our Hyderabad Bureau adds: At least two persons were killed in rain-related incidents in Sanghar and Thatta. Electricity poles were uprooted in many towns due to strong winds.
The standing and harvested cotton crop has been destroyed to the extent of 70 per cent, according to some abadgars. However, the rain will have a salutary affect on banana, sugarcane and rice crops.
Our Badin correspondent adds: After a three-hour respite, heavy downpour continued on Sunday. Most people remained indoors and traffic remained thin. Low-lying localities were inundated and drains overflowed.
On the directives of the chief minister, provincial minister for population welfare Syed Ali Bux Shah held an urgent meeting with the district government to provide relief to the rain-affected people.
He also reviewed arrangements made by the district administration. About 3,000 people have sought shelter in relief camps set up in Kadhan, Seerani, Bhughra Memon, Ahmed Rajo and Golarchi.
A team consisting of director-general livestock, Dr. Baz Muhammad, director Dr Abdul Qadir, and Dr Bijar Khan Chang, EDO livestock Badin, visited the coastal area villages and established centres at Seerani, Bhughra Memon and other towns for livestock vaccination.
Our Thatta correspondent adds: Rain accompanied by high-velocity winds swept away the coverings of poultry farms, betel farms and kutcha hutments. Power breakdown in most areas of the district and disruption of phone communication have added to people's misery. Business activities remained suspended.
Our correspondent from Sanghar adds: Farmers and ginners who were caught unawares because rain at this time of the year is rare. The unpicked cotton in the fields was soaked in the rain and fell on the ground. However, sugarcane and banana orchards will benefit from the rain spell.
In Tando Adam, a few poles of the 11-KV transmission line fell due to heavy rain and winds. Power supply to the area could not be restored till the filling of this report.
Our Nawabshah correspondent adds: Rain continued in different parts of the district here on Sunday. Most roads in Nawabshah, Daur, Sakrand, Qazi Ahmed, Jam Sahib, 60-mile, Bandhi, Bucheri received rain. Most localities in Nawabshah were under knee-deep water.
Growers of Nawabshah have demanded of the Sindh government to waive dhal and agriculture tax as 70 per cent of the standing cotton crop over 150,000 acres of land in the district had been destroyed.
Information secretary, Sindh Abadgar Board, Syed Ali Mohammad Shah, Bux Ali Jamali, Haji Akhtar Rind and Fida Chandio said that the rain had destroyed about 60 per cent of standing cotton crop which was ready for picking.
Or Dadu correspondent adds: Most of areas in Dadu district face disruption of telephone, communication and transport systems for long hours.