A powerful cyclone has made landfall, sending heavy rains to the coasts of India and Pakistan, leaving thousands without power.
Roofs were blown off houses and trees, utility poles were uprooted and thousands were left without power as the severe cyclone made landfall and torrential rains battered the coasts of India and Pakistan.
At least two people were killed in floodwaters in the western Indian state of Gujarat before the cyclone hit, officials said on Friday.
More than 180,000 people have been evacuated in India and Pakistan over the past few days as authorities prepare for the cyclone, called Biparjoy, which means “disaster” or “disaster” in Bengali.
It made landfall late Thursday near Jakhau, a port in Gujarat state near the Pakistan border, weather officials said.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in its latest bulletin that Biparjoy weakened from a severe cyclone to a cyclonic storm on Friday morning, with speeds dropping from 105 km/h (65.24 mph) to 85 km/h (52.82 mph). mph). Wind speeds may decrease further by afternoon, the announcement said.
Two men, both shepherds, were killed while trying to rescue a herd of washed away cattle in the Bhavnagar district of Gujarat state on Thursday night, the cyclone control room said.
Amit Arora, a senior district official overseeing the rescue operation, said power was cut in many parts of Gujarat’s Kutch district due to strong winds.
India’s Meteorological Department has warned of heavy to heavy rainfall in Gujarat and neighboring Rajasthan on Friday.
On Friday, the disaster management authority in neighboring Pakistan said the cyclone was weakening.
“It is expected to weaken further into a cyclonic storm before entering a depression [Friday] evening,” authorities said in a statement.
Sardar Sarfaraz, head of Pakistan’s meteorological department, told Al Jazeera that the cyclone is likely to trigger heavy rains along Pakistan’s coast on Friday and Saturday.
“The hurricane has weakened considerably in strength and we expect it to turn into a depression overnight. However, the cyclonic impact will cause heavy rain and winds in a few areas, with wind speeds likely to vary between 60 and 80 kilometers per hour (37 and 50 mph) ,”He said.
Sarfaraz said the government had asked authorities to ensure that some 82,000 people displaced by the cyclone would not be sent home until June 17 because of the weather.
Many of the affected areas were submerged in last year’s catastrophic monsoon floods that inundated a third of Pakistan, damaged two million homes and killed nearly 1,700 people.
More than 625,000 children in both countries are at immediate risk, UNICEF has warned.
“In Pakistan, Cyclone Bipajoy has created a new crisis for children and families in Sindh, the province hardest hit by last year’s devastating floods,” said UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia Nora Skin Noala Skinner said.
Cyclones — the North Atlantic equivalent of hurricanes or typhoons in the Pacific Northwest — are a deadly and recurring threat along the coast of the northern Indian Ocean, home to tens of millions of people.
A 2021 study found that the frequency, duration and intensity of Arabian Sea hurricanes increased significantly between 1982 and 2019, an increase experts say will continue, making preparations for natural disasters even more urgent.