Cyclone Phet lashes Pakistani coast


Heavy rains and strong winds continued to lash the southwestern coast of Pakistan early Sunday as Cyclone Phet approached landfall.

Throughout the weekend, the Pakistani navy dispatched helicopters to alert fishermen near Karachi and parts of Balochistan to the expected arrival of Phet.

Pakistani authorities rescued about 1,000 people from Gwadar and took them to a navy shelter Saturday after the storm damaged their mud houses.

On Saturday, officials safely brought 24 fishing boats and 129 fishermen back to shore, the Associated Press of Pakistan said.

The navy remained on high alert Sunday, should they be needed in the aftermath of the cyclone.

Civilians along Pakistan’s coast will receive priority in the relief effort, dubbed “Operation Madad,” said Pakistani Chief of Naval Staff Adm. Nauman Bashir.

On Friday, Phet dumped up to 25 centimeters (10 inches) of rain on coastal Oman. It brought massive flooding to Muscat and whipped the capital with winds gusting above 200 kph (125 mph) at the height of the storm.

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