Cyclone Biparjoy: More than 150,000 evacuated as India, Pakistan braces for storm

More than 150,000 people in India and Pakistan have been evacuated from the path of a fierce cyclone a day before its expected landfall.

Forecasters have warned that Cyclone Biparjoy – which means “disaster” in Bengali- could destroy homes and crops.

Biparjoy has been making its way across the Arabian Sea and is expected to first hit India’s Gujarat state on Thursday evening local time.

At least seven people have already died amid heavy rains in India.

The victims include two children crushed by a collapsing wall, and a woman hit by a falling tree while riding a motorbike, AFP news agency reported.

In Pakistan, the storm is expected to strike the coast of Sindh province. Authorities have already evacuated 81,000 people from the south-eastern coast and set up 75 relief camps at schools.

Pakistan’s Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman said Karachi, the province’s largest city with a population of more than 20 million, was not under immediate threat but emergency measures were being taken.

The “very severe cyclonic storm” was packing sustained winds with speeds up to 135 km (84 miles) per hour, and gusting up to 150 km (93 miles) per hour, meteorologists said. They have also warned high tides could inundate low-lying areas along the coasts.