KARACHI: Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah presiding over a cyclone emergency meeting on Saturday at CM House declared emergency in all the districts located along the coastal belt in order to take precautionary measures to meet any untoward situation.
“A control room should be established at the chief secretary office to keep close coordination with all the districts, in respect of their requirements and giving them necessary instruction on behalf of the government,” he said.
The meeting was attended by Rehabilitation Minister Faraz Dero, Adviser Murtaza Wahab, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah and other relevant officials.
A senior meteorologist told the meeting there was a generic term for non-frontal anti-clockwise rotating weather system with surface wind ranging from 34 to 47 knots. He added that it usually caused three types of impacts, including torrential rains, thunderstorms, high-intensity winds and storm surges.
He said that cyclone classification in Pakistan and South Asia caused different kinds of disturbance.
Fishermen advised not to venture into the sea during May 16-20
“Gusty winds and damage in detaching fruit from the tree is caused when a depression develops a pressure of 996 hPa/mb with a wind speed of 22 to 27 knots. When deep depression with a pressure of 986-995 hPa/mb develops with a wind speed of 28 to 33 knots negligible damages are caused to houses, fruit trees, some crops and caravans,” he added.
The Met director said that when the cyclonic storm had a pressure of 971-970 hPa/mb along with a wind speed of 34-47 knots it caused minor damages to houses and significant damage to signboards, trees and small craft.
“Severe cyclone storm emerges when a pressure of 930 to 955 hPa/mb with a speed of 64-89 knots and it causes significant structural damage, caravans blow away. In this way two other categories are extremely severe cyclonic storm and super cyclonic storm, which cause extensive damage to house, power and communication lines,” he said.
Tracks of cyclone
The meeting was told that there were two possible tracks of the cyclone. “If the cyclone crosses Indian Gujarat, then its outer peripheral effect would be on Thatta, Badin, Mirpurkhas, Tharparkar, Umerkot and Sanghar districts. Thatta, Badin and Mirpurkhas would receive heavy rainfall of 70 to 90mm each, Umerkot 80 to 100mm while Tharparkar would receive very heavy rainfall of 230 to 250mm,” he said.
According to the weatherman, in case the cyclone crosses northwest and crosses west of Karachi then its outer peripheral effect would be on Karachi, Hub, Lasbela, Hyderabad and Jamshoro districts. Karachi may receive 60 to 80mm rainfall, Hyderabad 30 to 50 mm, Jamshoro 150-170 mm, Dadu 180 to 200mm, Bela and Sukkur 80 to 100 each and Jacobabad 60 to 80mm.
Another official of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) told the meeting that the depression over southeast Arabian Sea had intensified into a cyclonic storm Tauktae and lay at a distance of about 1,460km south-southeast of Karachi.
He said that the system was likely to intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm (SCS) during the next 12-18 hours and move in north-northwest direction and reach Indian Gujarat by May 18 in the morning.
“Under the influence of this system, widespread heavy to very heavy dust/thunderstorm-rains with gusty winds of 80-100 kilometre per hour (kmph) are likely to occur in Thatta, Badin, Thar, Mirpurkhas, Umerkot and Sanghar districts from May 17 to May 20. Dust/thunderstorm-rains with few heavy falls and gusty winds of 50-70kmph are also likely in Karachi, Hyderabad, Jamshoro, Shaheed Benazirabad, Sukkur, Larkana, Shikarpur, Jacobabad and Dadu during May 18-20. The sea conditions would be rough to very rough and fishermen are advised not to venture in the sea during May 16-20,” he said.
Control room, billboards removal ordered
Keeping in view the presentation given to him, the chief minister directed the administration in Karachi to start clearing all the choking points of nullahs.
He directed the Karachi commissioner and administrator to start removing all the billboards, neon signs and ask the builders to make precautionary measures for security of their under-construction structures.
He directed the PDMA to provide dewatering machines, generators to local administration, where required.
Mr Shah directed fishermen not to go into the deep sea for fishing from Sunday.
He directed the chief secretary to set up a control room in his office and post a BS-19 offer as its head to receive requirements from districts and issue necessary instructions to the administration on behalf of the government.
He directed Tharparkar district administration to take extraordinary measures because it was expected to receive very heavy rains. All the district administrations should make alternative accommodation arrangements, in case shifting of people became necessary.
He directed the chief secretary to seek the requirement of funds from the district administration and ensure timely releases. The district administration was also directed to set up control rooms in their districts.
He also issued directives to the irrigation minister to declare emergency in his department and keep proper monitoring of the embankments of the canals and distributaries.
He also directed the LG and rehabilitation ministers to stay in Karachi and personally monitor each and every arrangement.
Published in Dawn, May 16th, 2021