Biparjoy is making its way towards Pakistan’s coastal regions at an increasing speed and authorities are scrambling to make sure people are evacuated in time.
Preparedness will be the decisive factor as Pakistan’s coastline grapples with this storm, becuase for the most part Biparjoy is a rerun of something that has already happened.
Dr Sardar Sarfaraz, Pakistan’s chief meterologist, described Biparjoy as an ‘action replay’ of the devastating cyclone that occurred in 1999 because both have plenty of similarities.
“The storm came into being at roughly the same place, is travelling at roughly the same speed and is also expected to make landfall at Keti Bandar like the 1999 cyclone,” Sarfaraz told BBC Urdu.
“It is also travelling at the same route,” Sarfaraz said..
The cyclone in 1999 was devastating and made irreparable damages in Thatta and Badin. A UN press release from a month after the cyclone hit Pakistan’s coast said that 189 people had been killed and 150 were missing in the aftermath.
“More than 138,000 houses collapsed, and 675 boats disappeared. Some 15,000 cattle heads and sheep died, and 256,000 hectares of land have been badly damaged,” the press release said.
“Cyclone itself was killer, but aftermath possibly more devastating,” the press release had said.
The press release had also said that the damage to agriculture from the storm would affect 750,000 people.
A 2014 news report in Dawn said that 300 villages in Thatta had been devastated in the storm and many villagers were still hopeful that their missing loved ones would turn up from Indian jails 15 years later.
“How could I believe that they are dead because I did not see their bodies,” Mai Soomro, who had lost a son and four sons-in-law, had said.
However, there is reason to believe that the aftermath of both storms will be different even if they are moving along the same trajectory and have a similar intensity.
Muazzam Khan, who served in the Marine and Fisheries department in Karachi in 1999, said that he had followed the storm’s progress by satellite data in at the time and both sotrms seemed similar, but authorities seemed to be prepared this time.
“Timely information was not available in 1999,” Muazzam told the BBC, adding that not just the authorities but the people seemed to be mentally prepared for the cyclone as well.