Cyclones in Karachi and Safety Tips

Cyclones are large scale air masses that rotate around a strong center of low atmospheric pressure.  They are caused by a combination of strong winds driving water onshore and the lower atmospheric pressure in a tropical cyclone. They can affect a large area by heavy rain, strong wind, large storm surges at landfall, and tornadoes.

Pakistan lies in a tropical zone. Climatic condition of Pakistan is generally arid. Cyclones are rare in the Arabian Sea, which is the Northern part of the Indian Ocean. There is only one tropical cyclone warning centres in Pakistan, which is in Karachi in Sindh province. However, people always remain fearful of cyclones. For instance, 

  • In May 2001 – More than 100,000 people were evacuated in southeastern Pakistan due to the threat from a powerful cyclone in the Arabian Sea
  • In 1 October 2004 – In Karachi, nine people died from the storm
  • In June 2007 – Powerful Cyclone Gonu produced heavy rainfall and strong winds in the city of Gwadar in Balochistan, where it caused damage to dozens of boats and school buildings 
  • In 23 June 2007 – Cyclone Yemyin, which developed over the Bay of Bengal and intensified into a cyclone over the Arabian Sea, killed 200 people alone in Karachi city due to heavy rain and windstorms
  • In 6 June 2010 – Cyclone Phet made landfall near Karachi as a depression, having earlier dropped heavy rainfall along the Makran coast 

Safety tips – to stay safe before the cyclone

  • Check with your building control authority to see if your home has been built to cyclone standards or not
  • Make sure that the walls and roofs of your home are secure
  • It is preferable to fit shutters, or at least metal screens, to all glass areas in your home
  • Clear all those materials that could blow about and possibly cause injury or damage during extreme winds
  • Ensure that, parked vehicles are under solid shelter


Safety tips – to stay safe during the cyclone

  • Stay clear of damaged power lines, buildings, trees, bridges
  • In case of a storm warning, make sure that you know safe high ground and the safest access route to it
  • Neighbours are the only friends whom you can reach immediately in case of an emergency. Keep a list of their phone numbers, so you can call them in emergency 
  • Close shutters or board-up or heavily tape all windows. Lock your doors
  • In warning situations, don’t go outside until officially advised it is safe


Safety tips – to stay safe after the cyclone

  • Check for gas leaks. Don’t use electric appliances if wet
  • Keep listening to the local radio, and news channels for official warnings and advice
  • If you have to evacuate, or did so earlier, don’t return until advised
  • Check/help your neighbours
  • Don’t make unnecessary telephone calls


So, these are some of the most important safety tips before, during and after a cyclone. Follow the safety tips and keep yourself and your loved ones away from any possible harm. 


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