KARACHI, June 26: At least 32 fishermen are feared dead as tropical cyclone Yemyin lashed coastal areas of Sindh and Balochistan with winds of up to 130 kilometres an hour.
Several boats were reported to have sunk in the Arabian Sea and many others were missing. According to official sources, efforts are been made to find the bodies of the fishermen believed to have been killed.
Local chief weatherman, Naeem Shah, told Dawn that the cyclone turned into a low pressure system over Balochistan after hitting land between Ormara and Pasni some 400 kilometres from Karachi.
He said the low-pressure system would continue to cause moderate to heavy rains in the coastal areas of Sindh and Balochistan.
The Met office also forecast widespread moderate to heavy rains in parts of Punjab and the NWFP as the cyclone dissipates. “Due to a monsoon trough, the moisture from the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal continues to penetrate into Sindh, Punjab and Northern areas, which can cause widespread rains, especially in the catchments of rivers, and floods during (the) season,” he said.
He said the tropical cyclone acted as a moisture-feeding engine in the upcountry areas, causing rains.
Mr Shah said that Karachi had cumulatively received a rainfall of 61mm since Monday.
Sindh Relief Commissioner Anwar Haider told this correspondent that the local administration had helped thousands of people in coastal areas in Karachi, Badin, Thatta, Keti Bander and Shah Bandar. “Most of them have returned to their home as the cyclone is over now,” he added.
Sources at the Karachi Port Trust said two boats – Al Taif with 17 fishermen and Al Majeedi with 12 fishermen – are still missing. They said all fishermen abroad were feared dead.
The sources said three fishermen drowned near Thatta.
The met office, however, said fishermen would be able to head back to sea on Wednesday as the weather was expected to clear over Tuesday night.
Adviser to the Sindh Chief Minister on Home Affairs Waseem Akhtar said that the local administration had evacuated people from several villages along the Sindh coast. He said the situation was swiftly improving.
Mr Akhtar said at least 1,700 electricity cables had snapped and 20 pole-mounted transmitters (PMTs) and over 350 electric poles damaged. “It will definitely take some time to fix faults,” he said.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Rangers (Sindh) set up 45 rain relief camps in Karachi and 15 in the interior of the province, including Badin, Thatta and Hyderabad.
A Rangers spokesman said mobile patrol teams were on stand by to assist people affected by rain. “Rangers are also equipped with medical equipment to provide fist aid to the injured people”, he added.The spokesman said that the Rangers had taken over the Sharea Faisal and M. A. Jinnah Road to prevent traffic jams.
He said that the Rangers, in coordination with the local administration, rescued 28 families at Keti Bandar and Shah Bandar, and shifted them to safer places.