KARACHI - The much-hyped cyclone Nilofar has passed through the Arabian Sea belt without inflicting any damage to the coastal belt of the country.

The cyclone has forced the Sindh government to take special measures including announcing emergency and evacuation of people from the coastal areas.

The provincial government took special measures to avoid any loss of life and property from the cyclone in Karachi, Thatta, Badin, Sajawal and Tharparkar. Schools were closed on Friday and emergency centres were established in these districts while Rs10 million were given to district officials for relief activities. The billboard owners in Karachi were asked to remove the billboards in order to avoid any damage from the gusty winds and the fishermen were directed to return to the sea shores before Thursday.

The Met Department had predicted heavy rains and gusty winds from Thursday to Friday in these districts but only cloudy weather with slight wind was witnessed during this period.

Giving update on the current position of the cyclone on Friday evening, the Met Department said cyclone in the Arabian Sea had further weakened to a low pressure area and now located at about 460-km southwest of Karachi. The cyclone is almost stationary and would likely to dissipate gradually over the water on Saturday. The department said the estimated average sustained wind speed was around 15-25 knots gusting up to 35 knots.  It said scattered rain and thundershowers were expected in Lower Sindh and the adjoining coast of Lasbella during next 24 hours. Sea conditions along the Pakistan coast will remain rough till Saturday and the fishermen of Sindh and Balochistan could resume their activities from Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Karachiites who were forced to limit their activities due to cyclone have expressed satisfaction over passing of the cyclone without inflicting any damage.

Anas, a resident of Clifton, told The Nation that the cyclone news was testing their nerves for the last three days as they were forced to remain in door and prepare themselves for any kind of emergency round the clock. “One of our family members used to sit before the television whole night to get aware of any update on the cyclone. They did not send their children to schools during these days as in case of any emergency they would not be able to pick them up,” he added.

He said they were finally relieved after hearing that the cyclone had become ineffective and would pass on without causing any damage. “We will finally be able to take good sleep tonight and will able to resume our activities from tomorrow,” he said.

It is pertinent to mention here that although the residents of coastal areas remain apprehensive about the potential destruction of their properties by cyclone Nilofar but the residents of drought-hit Tharparkar are still hopeful that the tropical storm will at least provide them with much-needed rain.