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Indian ports remain shut as cyclone unleashes powerful winds

Major ports in the western Indian state of Gujarat, including Adani Group’s flagship Mundra operation, remained shut as winds are still strong after cyclone Biparjoy made landfall.

The powerful storm brought heavy rains in several areas of India and Pakistan and saw winds gusting to as high as 140 kilometers (87 miles) an hour. Both nations have evacuated about 150,000 people, restricted air and rail transport, and shut port operations in the affected areas.

“We are hoping that the wind speed should start coming down by evening or tomorrow morning, and the ports should start calling back the vessels,” Ashwin Solanki, chief nautical officer at Gujarat Maritime Board, said by phone. Sikka may be the first one to resume operations due to its importance as an oil port serving mostly to Reliance Industries Ltd.’s refinery, he said.

The cyclone has weakened and its intensity will decline further by Friday evening, with wind speeds falling to 40 kilometers to 50 kilometers per hour, the India Meteorological Department said in a statement.

India and Pakistan have sought to mitigate the damage from Biparjoy — a name which means disaster. Besides evacuating people, they sent specialized army personnel to provide medical assistance and help in the recovery, and deployed disaster management teams to carry out relief and rescue operations.

Pakistan is expected to come out of the storm’s impact completely by Saturday morning, the country’s Power Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan said at a press conference.

The cyclone followed devastating rains in Pakistan last year that flooded about a third of the nation, killing 1,700 people, displacing millions, and causing about $30 billion in losses and damages. The latest natural calamity is another example of extreme weather events in South Asia, with scientists blaming climate change for a rise in the frequency of cyclones, heat waves, floods and droughts in the region.

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