India and Pakistan evacuate residents ahead of Cyclone Biparjoy

The powerful cyclone Biparjoy should touch this Thursday the coasts of India and Pakistan. More than 100,000 inhabitants have already been evacuated in these two countries in the face of the risk of flooding and the “total destruction” of certain buildings.

Biparjoy, which means “disaster” in Bengali, is a “very violent cyclone” according to the Indian and Pakistani meteorological agencies. Its strong winds, torrential rains and storm surges threaten some 325 km of coastline between Mandvi, in the Indian state of Gujarat, and the Karachi region, Pakistan’s main city.

Winds up to 180 km/h

According to the Indian Meteorological Agency, Biparjoy is expected to make landfall at the port of Jakhau. It could cause multiple damage: damage to crops, electrical and telecommunications networks, disruption of rail and road traffic or even “total destruction” of traditional dwellings, made of dried mud and sheet metal.

At the water’s edge, the gusts were already blowing up to 180 km / h on Wednesday. Elsewhere in India, winds can reach 150 km / h. In Gujarat, more than 47,000 people living by the sea have been evacuated. In Pakistan, 62,000 coastal residents have been accommodated in 75 reception centres, according to Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman.

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More and more intense cyclones

Flooding is possible in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city with 20 million people, according to Sherry Rehman. Small planes were told not to take off there and fishermen were told to stay at the dock. “We apply a precautionary principle rather than a wait-and-see policy,” said the minister. “Our priority is to save lives. Fishing has been suspended off the Indian state of Gujarat.

Cyclones are common in this region of the Indian Ocean, where tens of millions of people live. But according to scientists, these phenomena are gaining power due to global warming. Indeed, cyclones draw their energy from warm waters. However, the surface temperature in the Arabian Sea is now 1.2 to 1.4°C higher than 40 years ago.

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