More than 60,000 people living on Pakistan’s Arabian Sea coastline were evacuated and emergency was declared in Sindh and Balochistan provinces, as tropical cyclone Phet closed in on the country.
Thousands of people were moved out from vulnerable villages along the coast in the Sindh province and another half a million could be affected in neighbouring Balochistan, if the cyclone smashes into Pakistan, officials said.
President Asif Ali Zardari directed the armed forces and all government departments to be on full alert to tackle the possible fallout of the cyclone Phet, which has weakened over Oman and is now moving towards Pakistan’s coastline.
"Cyclone Phet has almost reached the Oman coast and could recurve towards Pakistan's coastline in the next 24-36 hours," Met officials here said.
The authorities said hospitals have been put on alert and medicines and equipment stockpiled to meet any emergency.
Officials said tinned rations had also been kept ready for an emergency situation.
Met forecasters said they expect that the cyclone would unleash a fierce storm resulting in heavy rain with gale force winds which could uproot trees and powerlines.
They said that they did not expect the cyclone to be severe on the port city of Karachi, but the storm could wreck havoc in the villages on the Sindh and Balochistan coastline.
Sindh officials said they had moved out more than 60,000 people from the coastal villages to specially set up relief camps in the hinterland.