Cyclone Biparjoy: Govt vows to ensure uninterrupted electric supply

Climate minister says 110mm rainfall predicted in Karachi while 330mm in Thatta and Badin

Federal Minister for Power Khurram Dastgir is addressing a press conference in Islamabad. — APP/File
Federal Minister for Power Khurram Dastgir is addressing a press conference in Islamabad. — APP/File
  • LNG shipments not coming to Pakistan due to severe cyclone: minister.
  • Says gas supply diverted to power stations to continue energy production.
  • Karachites must not panic, take precautionary measures: Rehman.

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Power Khurram Dastgir has said that there is no major risk to power infrastructure in Sindh due to tropical cyclone Biparjoy and all relevant measures are in place to ensure unimpeded power supply.

In a joint media briefing on Tuesday, Dastgir flanked by Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman and National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairman Lt Gen Inam Haider Malik provided a detailed account of decisions taken in a high-level meeting with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to deal with the impacts of the cyclone.

Dastgir said liquified natural gas (LNG) shipments are not coming to Pakistan due to the severe cyclone as shipment schedules have been changed.

“Our power infrastructure at 1000km away from the cyclone has been impacted. We have decided that the gas supply has been diverted to power stations to continue energy production. Expected impacts like strong winds can impact our wind turbines in Chimb as the wind gusts beyond 90km per hour can have effects on its functioning,” he added.

He added that the other critical area to be impacted was transmission lines at the local level and also major transmission lines due to cyclonic winds.

Moreover, the increased power infrastructure is also vulnerable like in south Thar 2,000MW of energy has been installed, he said.

“We are prepared to manage that power outage. The prime minister and water resources minister have allowed increasing power production from Tarbela,” he added.

The power minister also said in order to make up for the power shortage “48-96 hours oil production” would be introduced for power generation.

He added that the power division would ensure energy generation and no offset would be faced in it whereas no further add up to occur in the existing power outage.

The vulnerable power infrastructure area lies mainly in the Hyderabad Electric Power Supply Company which is on alert. “We have restored power infrastructure in the floods in record time and will ensure the same during the cyclone.”

‘110mm rainfall predicted in Karachi’

Speaking on the occasion, Climate Minister Rehman said all preventive measures were taken and relocation to continue all night from coastal areas.

“We are not taking any risk and exposing anyone to this situation whereas no medical emergencies reported yet,” she added.

However, Thatta and Badin are mostly selected for relocation whereas basic amenities like drinking water would be ensured as per the prime minister’s direction whereas the power minister would be sent to Sindh to manage power outages.

She added that cyclonic winds had started and 24/7 monitoring was underway and would continue till June 18th.

“Shipping schedules have already been impacted whereas small crafts and fishermen were not taking advisories seriously. The small craft fishermen will have to return from the open sea for their safety,” the minister said.

She reiterated that there is no need to panic as the government has taken in time action and issued timely alerts to the relevant departments.

“Evacuations help in saving lives and we will do it forcibly as it has been done in Keti Bunder. However, Karachites must not panic and take individual precautionary measures,” she added.

“Almost 110mm rainfall is predicted in Karachi whereas Thatta and Badin to have 330mm rain forecasted,” she added.

She underlined that population evacuations have to be made whereas the seaview areas population needed to be relocated but no mass evacuation was suggested for Karachi.

The climate minister announced that the Sindh and federal governments would ensure compensation to the masses losing their homes due to the cyclone.

'Keti Bunder Indian Gujarat to embrace landfall'

The NDMA chairman said the current status of Biparjoy was less than 400km away from the country’s coastline and its direction is bending towards north and northeastward.

“Keti Bunder and Indian Gujarat to embrace its landfall whereas dusty gusts and strong winds in Sunawal and Thatta are causing disruption on mobility,” he said.

A National Emergency Committee has been formed by the prime minister comprising of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environmental Coordination, the NDMA and other partners.

“All are working together on one thing to protect the masses as much as possible.

Malik also said that relocation to safer places is underway and further preventive measures like rescheduling flight operations and protection of maritime assets would also be taken keeping in view the cyclone stage.

Sindh and other areas are on high alert whereas stock-taking of equipment for early relief and rescue was done, he added. “We will ensure no shortage of required equipment. We have briefed INGOs and volunteers on the situation. However, the relocation camps have been equiped with all required necessities.”

Pakistan Army, Rangers and district administration are working together to ensure evacuations and relocation whereas Keti Bunder is completely vacated and district Sujawal’s 90% relocation was made, he informed.

He added that some 50,000 more people would be evacuated to Thatta and Badin whereas there would be the need of medical and ration provisions in the first quarter.