KARACHI: The Sindh government has announced a holiday on Friday, declared emergency in the metropolis and four other districts and made arrangements for the board and lodging of coastal area residents being shifted to safe places in view of the cyclone that is heading towards the coast at a speed of 14 kilometres per hour.
Nilofar — the cyclone heading towards Sindh and Indian Gujarat — may slam the coastal areas here on Thursday afternoon with the possibility of heavy rains in the lower parts of Sindh over the next two days, a weather report indicated.
The Sindh government declared emergency in all the six districts of Karachi, besides Thatta, Badin, Sujawal and Tharparker, while it announced that all government offices and educational institutions would remain closed on Friday, said Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon while briefing media persons in his office in Clifton after attending the cabinet meeting held on Wednesday at the CM House.
The meeting, which was presided over by Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah and attended by ministers, bureaucrats and army and navy officers, discussed a cyclone, the drought in Tharparker and security situation in context of Muharram.
The minister said emergency centres had been set up in all the coastal areas, while appeals were being made to residents of the areas to shift for a few days to safe places within their district. He said Rs10 million was released to the district governments concerned to make proper arrangements to look after them.
He said the Sindh government had also made arrangements for the transportation of fishermen and others from all the coastal areas to safe places, where arrangements had been made for their free board and lodging.
He added that people had been asked to restrict their movement to escape accidents from gusty winds and heavy rains during the next two days.
In order to avoid loss of life, the government started removing large hoardings and also directed the owners to remove their billboards otherwise in case of losses they would be held responsible and action would be initiated against them, he added.
People have been advised not to come out from their homes, unless unavoidable, from Thursday noon until the cyclone threat was over, according to the minister.
However, he added, these measures were not aimed at creating fear and harassment among people but to take all precautionary measures.
In reply to a question, he said 80 per cent fishermen had already returned while remaining were also sent radio messages through coast guards, navy and maritime agencies and hoped that they would also return before the cyclone hit the coastal areas.
In reply to another question, Mr Memon said the Met Office had forecast 30 to 50-millimetre rainfall in Karachi while the coastal areas would receive over 100mm of rainfall and above.
Published in Dawn, October 30th, 2014