Cyclone Phet's intensity reduces but Pak still under threat

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Karachi, Jun.5 (ANI): Despite its intensity being reduced after hitting the coast of Oman on Friday, cyclone 'Phet' continues to threaten Pakistan with heavy rains accompanied with high speed winds expected to lash Sindh and parts of Balochistan on Sunday.

According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, 'Phet,' once a powerful Category four storm, has been downgraded to a storm with winds of about 140 kilometres per hour after it whipped Oman causing massive flooding in the capital city Muscat.

Gusty winds blowing at a speed of above 200 kilometres per hour-wreaked havoc in Muscat killing at least two persons, including a Bangladeshi woman.

The tropical cyclone is forecast to re-enter the Arabian Sea by early Saturday morning before making a projected landfall near Karachi on Sunday.

"The Cyclone Phet has been reduced to category two storm, however, its intensity has not been downgraded much while the most of the coastal areas of Pakistan will continue facing its might for no less than three days," The News quoted meteorological department Director Dr. Qamaruz Zaman Chaudhry, as saying.

The weather department has also warned that the cyclone would cause 20-25 ft high tides along Pakistan's coastal areas.

It has been raining intermittently in the coastal areas of Balochistan, including Gwadar since Friday morning.

Meanwhile, over 60,000 people have been shifted to safer locations from vulnerable coastal villages in the Sindh province and other adjoining regions.

President Asif Ali Zardari has already directed the military and concerned government authorities to take "immediate precautionary measures" as the tropical cyclone closes in towards the country.

Pakistan's Maritime Security Agency has asked fishermen to stop all their activities and keep out of high seas.

Officials said that hospitals have been put on alert, and necessary medicines and equipments, along with ration and clothes are being arranged.

The Pakistan Navy has also sounded an alert for search and rescue operations. It has pressed two helicopters to keep a close watch on the situation. (ANI)

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