Life, residents returning to Sindh’s Keti Bandar after threat of Cyclone Biparjoy subsides

Published June 17, 2023
People sit atop a pickup van in Keti Bandar on Friday.— Umair Ali
People sit atop a pickup van in Keti Bandar on Friday.— Umair Ali

The residents of Keti Bandar, a small city in Sindh’s coastal district of Thatta, began returning to their homes on Friday after as the risk of it being hit by Cyclone Biparjoy subsided.

The cyclone made landfall in India’s Gujarat near Pakistan’s border on Thursday and had been losing intensity since then, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Department.

“So yes, people are returning now, and we are trying to provide conveyance to those wo had to shift to relief camps” due to the danger posed by the cyclone, Keti Bandar union council chairman Wahid Memon told Dawn.com during a visit to the city on Friday.

“The city is gradually opening,” he said.

Residents stand at along the coastline in Keti Bandar on Friday. — Umair Ali
Residents stand at along the coastline in Keti Bandar on Friday. — Umair Ali

Alongside him, Thatta district council’s vice-chairman Mumtaz Ali Jalbani agreed. “Since the threat [of the cyclone] has subsided, people are ready to return,” he said.

Away from their hometown, which was not directly hit by the cyclone but had to witnessed torrential rains and strong gales under its impact, the residents had escaped a disaster, according to Memon.

Recalling the destruction caused under the influence of the cyclone, he said, “Forceful tides tossed boats faraway into the sea. Everything was gone and the losses were colossal.”

The residents had to be evacuated. “Evacuation was both voluntary and forced”, he said, adding that authorities ensured that the entire population left the area when the cyclone neared Sindh’s coastline before the landfall.

Two boys lug a can at the seashore in Keti Bandar on Friday. — Umair Ali
Two boys lug a can at the seashore in Keti Bandar on Friday. — Umair Ali

Meanwhile, empty boats lined the jetty in the area, with no fishermen onboard.

In Keti Bandar, people mostly fish for livelihoods, Memon told Dawn.com.

Among them is Mir Mallah, who said he had moved to the Miprur Sakro town with his family due to the threat of the cyclone.

A man stands by a dilapidated boat in Keti Bandar on Friday.— Umair Ali
A man stands by a dilapidated boat in Keti Bandar on Friday.— Umair Ali

On his return to Keti Bandar on Friday, he told Dawn.com that he had not been able to earn a single penny in the last few days as he was not able to fish at all.

“Until fishing is allowed, I will certainly look for some other menial labour work,” he said.

On Friday, Zarif Khero, a chief engineer and acting Sindh irrigation secretary, also visited Keti Bandar and oversaw the strengthening of dykes.

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