Cyclone Biparjoy knocked out power and threw shipping containers into the sea in western India on Friday, before aiming its lashing winds and rain at part of Pakistan that suffered devastating floods last year. A man and his son died trying to save their livestock in Gujarat state, where the storm came ashore late Thursday after more than 180,000 people took shelter in the two countries.
The storm made landfall a night earlier, packing wind speeds of 85 kph (53 mph) and gusting up to 105 kph (65 mph) through the coastal regions of western Gujarat. Pakistani authorities were on high alert after evacuating 82,000 people.
The full extent of the damage in western India wasn’t immediately known. In addition to the two deaths, three people were injured in nearby Devbhumi Dwarka district, officials said. About 100,000 people who were evacuated in western India have been temporarily relocated to relief camps, authorities said.
The storm did other damage upon landfall, including uprooting trees and electricity poles. Officials in the coastal town of Mandvi said heavy winds threw some shipping containers into the sea at Mundra port, one of India’s largest ports.
The cyclone was expected to weaken later Friday and move toward the neighboring Indian state of Rajasthan on its way to southern Pakistan, which is still recovering from deadly flooding last year.
People in that region lined up to receive food donated by charities, aid agencies and local authorities. Pakistan’s national disaster management agency said the cyclone was 125 kilometers (75 miles) south-southwest of Keti Bandar, a port in flood-hit Sindh province.
“The storm is expected to weaken first to a cyclonic storm and then to a depression by this evening,” it said.
The Indian Meteorological Department said Cyclone Biporjoy set a record for the longest lifespan over the Arabian Sea, more than 10 days. Cyclone Kyarr in 2019 had a life of nine days, it said.
The Gujarat government said it deployed 184 rapid action squads to rescue wild animals and clear fallen trees in Gir National Park, home to nearly 700 Asiatic lions.
Wind-driven rain pelted southern coastal towns in Pakistan for a second day Friday. The cyclone was expected to cause flash floods in southern Pakistan.
Pakistan’s Sindh province experienced one of the country’s deadliest floods last summer, partly induced by climate change. At least 1,739 people were killed and 33 million were displaced.
The World Health Organization said Thursday that it was supporting Pakistan’s efforts to deal with the impact of the cyclone. Pakistan’s government and local aid groups delivered free food and drinking water to displaced people. Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said his government was protecting those in the storm’s path.
On Thursday, UNICEF warned that more than 625,000 children were at immediate risk in Pakistan and India.
“In Pakistan, Cyclone Biparjoy threatens a new crisis for children and families in Sindh, the province worst affected by last year’s devastating floods,” said Noala Skinner, UNICEF’s regional director for South Asia.
A 2021 study found that the frequency, duration and intensity of cyclones in the Arabian Sea increased significantly between 1982 and 2019, and experts say the increase will continue, making preparations for natural disasters more urgent.
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