KARACHI: Cyclone Nilofar — which is expected to slam into India and Pakistan within the next 36 hours — reached within a distance of 910 kilometres south from the coast of Pakistan, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Department.
Officials also say that Nilofar, classified as a 'very severe cyclonic storm', may weaken to a 'cyclonic storm' when it makes landfall.
Pakistan's chief meteorologist Tauseef Alam, however, said: “But strong gusty winds and modest to heavy rains with thunderstorm are expected."
According to Met office, the sea conditions along Pakistan coast would be rough to very rough from Wednesday to Friday.
Fishermen in Sindh and Balochistan have been advised not to venture in open sea from Wednesday to Friday while those who were already in the open sea were advised to return to coastal areas.
|Fishing boats seen moored on harbour after issuing a warning by Meteorology Department and imposing ban on fishing due to a tropical cyclone named Nilofar. — Photo by PPI|
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has warned local agencies to take precautionary measures ahead of the cyclone.
“We have instructed our provincial chapter to warn fishermen that they should refrain from fishing in the sea in the upcoming days,” NDMA spokesman Ahmed Kamal told AFP.
The Director General of Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Balochistan, Noor Mohammad Jogezai, claimed that necessary arrangements have been made to tackle any emergency-like situation in Makran division.
“Our relief goods are already kept in stores in Makran division and we are ready to deal with any emergency-like situation caused by heavy rains,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Karachi and provincial administrations claimed to have prepared a contingency plan to handle the post-cyclone situation.
|A fire brigade, ambulance and divers are seen present at Clifton Sea View to prepare for the effects of Cyclone Nilofar. — Photo by Online|
The Sindh government has declared an emergency in districts facing the threat of cyclone while the Karachi municipal administration has claimed to have made arrangements to evacuate people from Mubarak village and Ibrahim Hyderi — fishermen’s neighbourhoods along the city’s coastline.
DG PDMA Sindh Syed Salman Shah said around 300,000 people are estimated to be affected in case of the cyclone impact at the coastal belt,
He added that Section 144 has been imposed in Karachi, Thatta, Sujawal and Badin and all the concerned departments have been put on high alert.
A state of emergency has also been declared at all the hospitals in the districts along the coastal belt and the leaves of staff have been cancelled, Shah said, adding that measures have been discussed for immediate shifting of fishermen from coastal areas to safer places in case of an emergency.
He further said that it has been decided that dwellers of coastal areas will be accommodated in government buildings instead of camps to protect them against rains and gusty winds and added that the affected people will be provided all necessary facilities.
Syed Salman Shah claimed that the PDMA Sindh is all prepared to cope with any emergency situation and its staff has been put on high alert. He further said that local administrations have also been issued directives to remain alert and that Karachi administration has been asked to ensure cleaning of stormwater drains.
|Workers Removing Billboard at Sea View area.— Photo by INP|
Commissioner Karachi Shoaib Siddiqui asked the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) and other NGOs to approach fishermen and advise them to adopt precautionary measures in this behalf, an official handout here on Monday said.
Siddiqui also directed the Cantonment Board and Municipal officials to remove all dangerous and frail sign boards immediately to pre-empt any mishap in the wake of the cyclone.
|Policemen and coast guard personnel patrol on Sea View beach in Karachi, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014. — Photo by AP|
The commissioner also directed Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, District Municipal bodies and other concerned departments to ensure strict implementation of Section 144 of the CrPC which bans bathing and swimming in sea.
He further asked the citizens to avoid going and taking their families to sea beaches till the danger of the storm subsided and said, “Section 144 will remain imposed on beaches till Nov 2 and no one will be allowed to go to seashores.”
Fishermen lament over government's lukewarm response
|Fishing boats seen with a red flag to warn others about the rough sea. — Photo by PPI|
Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) chairperson Mohammed Ali Shah expressed dissatisfaction over the performance of the NDMA, PDMA, DDMA and other government agencies, saying despite the threats of such disasters, there is no proper preparation and planning to avert the impacts of devastations.
He said nobody from the government is visible to help the boats and crews. They do not have system, hence they are approaching PFF activists for extending cooperation.
Shah said that PFF community volunteers have displayed red flags at coastal belt to warn the community people that there are fears of rough weather, but the government authorities have never bothered to help and accommodate them in this regard.
All the deputy commissioners and district administrations have been asked to evacuate the people of communities residing at the vulnerable places and to shift them at safer places.
A local fisherman in Karachi's Mubarak Village, however, told Dawn that no government representative had visited the village for evacuation or any other arrangements.
He added that the residents of the fishing village, anticipating the storm, had shifted their boats and small vessels to a relatively safer place on a self-help basis.