Islamic Relief’s team in Pakistan is on standby to respond to an extremely severe Category 1 cyclone, as tens of thousands of people evacuate their homes ahead of the storm.
Cyclone Biparjoy is expected to hit land tomorrow (Thursday), bringing torrential rain, fierce winds of up to 150 kilometres per hour (90-100 miles per hour) and a 30 foot (10 metre) tidal surge. Sindh in southern Pakistan and parts of western India are likely to be worst hit and Islamic Relief fears there will be flooding and damage to homes, farms and infrastructure.
The impact of this new cyclone could be catastrophic for impoverished families in Sindh who are still struggling to recover from last year’s devastating floods, which washed away people’s crops and destroyed their businesses.
Over the past 24 hours, the Pakistan government has evacuated around 65,000 people from coastal areas in Sindh. Most have moved into temporary shelters including in hospitals and schools, or are now sheltering with relatives in other regions.
Many rural communities have flimsy homes with straw roofs that are at high risk of being blown or washed away. Sindh’s mango orchards and vegetable farms – which are the main source of livelihoods for many local people and export produce all over Pakistan – are also at risk.
In Sindh, Islamic Relief has positioned emergency staff close to the at-risk areas and is on standby to support the government’s response to the cyclone if needed – especially with food, shelter and hygiene kits. Islamic Relief is also concerned about the potential impact on coastal communities in Gujarat in India, and is monitoring the situation there.
Last year’s Pakistan floods – the worst in the country’s history, which started in June 2022 – killed more than 1,700 people, destroyed or damaged more than 2 million homes, and caused $15 billion of damage. Such extreme climate disasters are becoming increasingly frequent and severe as the global climate crisis accelerates and international promises to cut carbon emissions remain unmet. Countries like Pakistan, which produces just 1% of global emissions, are paying the highest price, with the poorest communities most affected of all.