In recent days, the east-central Arabian Sea witnessed the formation of an extremely severe cyclonic storm named Biparjoy. This powerful tropical cyclone brought havoc to the coastal regions of India and Pakistan. In this article, we will delve into the details of the cyclone, its path, the impact it had on the affected areas, and the precautionary measures taken by the respective authorities.
Formation and Path
Biparjoy emerged as the third depression and the second cyclonic storm of the 2023 North Indian Ocean cyclone season. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) first identified a depression on June 6. Gradually intensifying, it developed into a cyclonic storm, moving northeastward. The storm gained strength and reached the classification of an extremely severe cyclonic storm, equivalent to a Category 3 tropical cyclone.
On June 16, Biparjoy made landfall in Naliya, India. Afterward, it weakened and was downgraded to a depression and later transformed into a well-marked low-pressure area on June 19. The cyclone’s name, Biparjoy, holds the meaning of ‘calamity’ in the Bengali language.
Precautionary Measures: Pakistan
With the aim of minimizing the potential effects of Cyclone Biparjoy, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) in Pakistan took proactive preparations. Meetings were held with stakeholders to establish coordination and readiness plans. Relevant authorities were assigned tasks by the PDMA, including identifying high-risk areas, conducting public awareness campaigns, creating evacuation plans, and ensuring the safe evacuation of residents from vulnerable coastal regions.
Authorities in Pakistan took several steps to mitigate the impact of the cyclone. Billboards and signboards were removed across Karachi, and voluntary evacuations were advised for coastal residential neighborhoods. A total of 81,000 individuals were successfully evacuated from the southeast coast, with 75 relief camps established at schools to provide assistance. Anticipating heavy rains and strong winds, the weather office issued warnings for several districts, including Karachi, Hyderabad, and Mirpurkhas. Efforts were focused on safeguarding approximately 9,000 households, estimated to be at direct risk of the cyclone’s impact. Widespread wind-dust, thunderstorm activity, and heavy rainfall were expected in districts of Sindh.
Precautionary Measures: India
In India, the meteorological department promptly issued alerts to local authorities in Gujarat on June 12, urging them to prepare for potential evacuations. Residents in coastal regions were advised to stay indoors as the cyclone approached land. The Gujarat government took immediate action by deploying national and state disaster response teams to the vulnerable areas. The impact of the cyclone was anticipated to extend beyond Gujarat, with expected heavy downpours in regions of Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Goa.
Efficient evacuation measures were implemented in Gujarat, resulting in the safe evacuation of 94,000 individuals from coastal areas. Warnings were issued about potential blackouts and floods, leading to the suspension of train services and halting operations at major ports. The Indian Coast Guard also conducted an evacuation operation, rescuing 50 workers from an oil rig off the Gujarat coast. Public advisories were issued to avoid visiting beaches, and fishermen were instructed not to venture into the sea. Authorities successfully evacuated residents within a 0-10km radius of Mandvi Beach. The evacuation efforts received support from the army, navy, and state and national relief forces. Notably, during the cyclone, 1,206 pregnant women were safely shifted to different hospitals and health and wellness centers, with 707 women giving birth to children.
Gujarat’s coastal areas experienced heavy rains and strong winds, resulting in the loss of three lives in Kutch and Rajkot districts. The severe weather conditions uprooted trees and caused a wall to collapse. Mandvi Beach faced the brunt of strong waves that swept away tents situated there. The Dwarka region witnessed high tides as the cyclone approached the coast. The neighboring state of Maharashtra also experienced heavy rains and high tidal waves. Tragically, four boys who had ventured into the Arabian Sea near Mumbai’s Juhu area were found deceased. The power outages affected 4,600 villages, and a total of 23 people were injured.
In Pakistan, the impact of Cyclone Biparjoy primarily affected the districts of Jodhpur and Jaisalmer in Rajasthan. These areas are forecasted to receive extremely heavy rainfall. Residents have been advised to exercise caution and stay updated with the latest information regarding the cyclone.
Cyclone Biparjoy left a trail of destruction in its path, affecting both India and Pakistan. Prompt and efficient precautionary measures played a crucial role in minimizing the damage and ensuring the safety of the residents. The efforts of the respective authorities, alongside the coordination of stakeholders, contributed to successful evacuations and relief operations. As the affected regions recover, it is essential to continue focusing on disaster preparedness and response strategies to mitigate the impact of future cyclones.