Thousands evacuated as severe cyclone Biparjoy heads for India and Pakistan

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A powerful cyclone is expected to hit the coastal regions of India and Pakistan later this week, prompting authorities to evacuate thousands of people and halt fishing activities.

Cyclone Biparjoy, which formed in the Arabian Sea, is likely to make landfall on Thursday near Jakhau port in the Kutch district of Gujarat, India’s westernmost state. It has maximum sustained winds of 180 kph (111 mph) and could intensify further.

Pakistan’s authorities are planning to evacuate 80,000 people to safety along the southern coast, where the cyclone could affect Karachi, the country’s financial capital. In India, more than 20,000 people have been moved to relief camps in Gujarat, and more could follow in the next two days.

The cyclone is likely the most powerful to hit western India and Pakistan since 2021, and follows devastating floods that ravaged Pakistan last year, leaving 1,739 people dead and $30 billion in losses.

Authorities have also banned gatherings along the beaches and shorelines during the cyclone. All ports, including two of India’s largest, Mundra and Kandla, have been shut down as a precaution. Fishermen in both countries have been asked to stay ashore and move their boats to safer locations.

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