Intensity of cyclone Nilofer rises: Karachiites warned to stay away from coastal areas

KARACHI: In the wake of tropical cyclone Nilofer feared to hit Pakistani coastline on October 30, a joint press conference was held in Commissioner Office on Tuesday to spread awareness among the masses regarding the nature of cyclone, its possible impacts, and government precautionary measurements in this regard.

All the officials and representatives of relevant departments comprising chief meteorologist of Pakistan Meteorologist Department, Touseef Alam; director general Pakistan Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), Salman Shah; commissioner Karachi division, Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui; and administrator Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), Rauf Akhtar Farooqui, were present.

While addressing media persons, Touseef Alam, revealed that the cyclone had been gaining intensity for last one week in Arabian Sea and turned intense on Tuesday morning which would cause heavy rainfall in Pakistani coastlines, adding that there were 90 percent chances that it would hit Gujrat coast in India and adjacent parts of Pakistani province of Sindh on October 30 or 31.

He further said that the cyclone may take curve towards right side and it might not affect Balochistan coast severely before reaching Karachi coast on October 30, adding that eastern areas of Sindh would be more affected.

Joining the briefing, the director general PDMA, Salman Shah, said that approximately 300,000 people of low-lying areas of the city would be affected and the evacuation of people was under progression in collaboration with Pakistan Navy and Pakistan Coast Guards, adding that navigational warnings had also been issued to those fishermen in deep sea through navy broadcasting while people in low-lying areas were being made aware of possible cyclone through text messages.

He further said that high tide in beaches was expected in view of possible cyclone. He urged citizens to stay away from city beaches including fishermen.

The administrator KMC, Rauf Akhtar Farooqui on the occasion said that holidays of all staff members of KMC had been cancelled and emergency in hospitals declared.

He further said that a survey had been conducted regarding areas that might be affected and implementation of precautionary measures would start late Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, the commissioner Karachi urged all departments and institutions to work in collaboration and said that Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum and other associated organizations had also been asked to follow preventive measures and make fishermen return to coastlines from deep sea.

The commissioner Karachi said that municipal corporation (MC), district municipal corporations (DMCs), and other relevant departments had been directed to impose strict restrictions on sea bathing under section 144 by making beach safety measures effective.

He further said that all respective organizations and departments had been called to contact and make fishermen return through commissioner office’s internal rescue 1299.

He also appealed to citizens to avoid visiting city beaches and sea bathing along with families in possible view of tropical cyclone ‘Nilofer’ until its threat fades away and said that with cooperation of all departments, all preventive measures would be ensured for people visiting beaches.

Meanwhile, he directed rescue 1299 and in-charges control room of commissioner office to keep updating him with latest information on immediate basis and urged citizens to stay away from beaches for next three days.

The commissioner further urged all cantonment boards and KMC to demolish weak signboards in view of possible storm and strong winds to ensure security to public life and property.

Meanwhile, he urged police department for additional deployment of police contingent, particularly traffic police personnel during this period, adding that ban on picnic at seaside would remain enforced until the cyclone passes on November 2.

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