The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) just issued a high alert warning about Biparjoy, a severe cyclonic storm that originated in the Arabian Sea. The reason why this has become such an urgent issue is because the cyclone changed its direction, and is expected to hit the coastal areas of Pakistan, Oman, India, Afghanistan and surrounding countries. What remains to be clear is that we are in the way, and the risk of flooding in Balochistan and Sindh is high. The 2022 floods serve as a lesson for us as a country; we were severely unprepared and national disaster management efforts were almost non-existent. The hope is that this time, we will handle the situation better.
The changing direction of the cyclone was noticed on June 8 and according to new estimates by the PMD, it will remain as intense. And whether we like it or not, Pakistan is in the line of fire. In particular, places like Pasnu and Gwadar are on high alert, as well as cities in Sindh. Both provinces have already been devastated by the floods, and this cyclone could wreak havoc further and completely deprive the provinces of what remains.
For now, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) held a meeting about what the next steps will be and reassuringly so. We are lucky to have caught this cyclone approaching early, and have time to make preparations accordingly. We should be prepared for a situation that requires immediate evacuation, rehabilitation, the provision of emergency supplies like food, water, medicines and sanitary facilities as well. For all this to happen, the authorities have to remain coordinated and must be proactive in arranging and planning for the worst. A coordination center is required for this, as well as an emergency center so that a proper framework through which action is taken is set up.
At the same time, the citizenry must remain informed itself as well. Public awareness campaigns about the intensity of the storm, as well as knowledge about its ramifications, should it hit the country, are vital to prepare the public mentally and physically. Additionally, all those whose profession is tied to maritime affairs must be prohibited from going out to sea until the situation improves. This is an all hands on deck situation, and the government and citizenry must cooperate with one another.