Vice Admiral Abbass Raza said that the cyclone is losing its intensity as it continues to approach Karachi.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, he said that most of the ships which were in the sea have been brought back to the shore safely.
Pakistan Navy is working hard to deal with the situation. Proper warning system has been installed in the coastal areas which will relay the signal of danger prior to the storm.
Pakistan Navy is in contact with the met office and is working according to the information provided by the office. The vice admiral told that the storm will hit the shore in Karachi in a couple of days.
DCO Thatta Manzoor Ahmed Shaikh told Express that 7,000 people from four areas; Kaiti Bandar, Kharochann, Jaati and Shah Bandar situated on marine belt have been shifted to releif camps due to the risk of approaching cyclone.
It is expected that more than 40,000people will get affected if cyclone hits Pakistan's marine belt. He said that the distcrict administration is trying to shift people to safe places and 71 relief camps have been made.
The meteorological department on Thursday downgraded Cyclone Phet to Category-2 from Category-5 saying that it has reduced in intensity.
The Met Office said that the intensity of the cyclone is expected to reduce further before it hits Pakistan. Director of the Cyclone Warning Center Sarfraz Ahmed said the cyclone will hit the coast of Oman some time in the next 12 hours, before heading towards Pakistan.
He said the cyclone is now 850 kilometers from Karachi and added that it seems unlikely it will hit Gwadar, though it might cause rains there.
The Met Department had said earlier that thunderstorms and strong winds are expected to hit the coastal areas of Sindh and Balochistan in the next three or four days.
The cyclone will bring widespread heavy rains and thunderstorms to the coasts of Karachi and Makran. According to Director Meteorological Office (MO) Naeem Shah, the velocity of the cyclone was six nautical miles (NM) per hour. In 24 hours, it will be 124 NM before it heads towards Pakistan’s coast.
With thunderstorms already beginning to rage in some areas along Pakistan’s coast as of Wednesday night, the country is scrambling to brace itself for what could be a disaster-like situation. According to reports, President Asif Ali Zardari has ordered the Pakistan Army to be on alert to combat the aftermath of the cyclone.
Also in the firing line is Karachi, the country’s largest city and its financial hub. Karachi Administrator Lala Fazalur Rehman visited several areas of the city with ministers Agha Siraj Durrani and Raza Haroon to chalk out a strategy to best deal with the emergency. They reviewed the state of the sewerage systems of Karachi.
“We will announce the emergency and relief numbers soon and are prepared to face any situation,” Rehman said while talking to The Express Tribune.
Sindh Minister for Culture, Sassui Palejo has has issued strict directives to DCO Thatta, Revenue and other departments to provide the people protection against the cyclone. She said that the government is taking all possible steps to tackle the emergency.
Heavy rains and thunderstorms have commenced in some coastal areas of Pakistan.
The MO has warned fishermen at sea to return to the coast immediately. Fishermen have been advised not to venture in the open sea for now.
Meanwhile, about 170 boats of Sindh carrying 10,000 fishermen have been missing for three days. Contact with them is lost, leader of Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) Sami Khan said. “100 boats from Karachi, 40 from Thatta and 10 from Badin are missing.” Khan added.
“Officers of the Disaster Control Management have promised to provide a helicopter service to search for the missing fishermen soon,” he said.
The government of Pakistan may approach the relevant UN-sponsored agencies with the request to locate a second centre of Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System at Karachi to assist the coastal population of the region.
He pointed out that out of list of about 50 Cyclonic storms which developed in North Arabian Sea during the period 1946-2004 it is inferred that these storms either dissipate or concentrate into cyclonic storms and cross into Lower Sindh or Indian Coast near Gujrat. Four of these hit Pakistan coastal belt near Karachi causing rain, flood and loss of life and property.
According to available seismic record of last 75 year, at least 50 earthquakes have affected the region around Karachi. Four of these were devastating major shocks of magnitude 8 and above. All these originated along the coastal waters south of Karachi along the Sindh-Makran coast and Rann of Kutch. He said these generated Tsunami waves in 1819, 1943, 1945 and 1956 and caused widespread damage to life and property along the coastal areas of Pakistan.
Published in the Express Tribune, June, 3rd, 2010.
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