|Introduction: Explain the origin of IMD and its role.|
Body: What role does it play in mitigating the impact of a cyclone?
Conclusion: Conclude with the way forward.
India Meteorological Department was established in 1875. It is an agency of the Ministry of Earth Sciences & is responsible for meteorological observations, weather forecasting and seismology. Its headquarters is located in New Delhi. IMD is also one of the six Regional Specialized Meteorological Centres of the World Meteorological Organization.
What role does IMD play in mitigating the impact of cyclones?
- Advanced warnings: Early prediction of cyclones helped authorities to evacuate people from coastal areas. Railways and fishermen also received prior alerts of the cyclones which helped the authorities to mitigate the impact of the cyclone.
- Colour-based alerts and their definition: IMD categorises cyclones as severe, very severe, and extremely severe and colour alerts based on orange, red etc which help authorities like NDRF, SDRF, and medical teams to make preparations for evacuation efforts and provide relief to people.
- Fewer casualties: Early warning and proactive efforts are the main reason for very few human casualties from the impact of Biparjoy. State administration was proactive and received cooperation from Union Government to mitigate the impact of the cyclone.
- Cyclone warning system: IMD has launched impact- based cyclone warning system which aims to minimise infrastructure losses like property damage.
- Role of Centre: Union Government has also been proactive with efforts like modernising fire services across the coastal states, efforts to reduce the risk of urban flooding in metro cities & giving more allocation to projects like National Landslide Risk Mitigation Project for Landslide Mitigation, National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project.
How did early warnings contribute to disaster management?
- Less human tragedy: Early warnings gave ample time for NDRF, and SDFR to complete the evacuation process and minimise the loss of human life.
- Active citizen participation: Early warning signs led to cooperation between citizens and administration which can be seen in steps like fishermen not going towards seas, following the guidelines of government diligently and the active role played by media in not spreading fears of any kind but rather helping in spreading of awareness on measures to minimise loss of life and damage to property.
- Boost to scientific research: Early and correct predictions lead to a big morale boost for the scientific community which helps in developing futuristic models and following the “zero casualty approach”. It also helps to learn new insights about climate change.
The early warning system of IMD will be of help in future because of more tropical cyclones occurring in the Arabian Sea due to global warming. The focus of government should be to ensure that coastal regulations norms are used in developing infrastructure and minimising loss of human life. The housing of rural and coastal areas must be strengthened. The role of mangroves which act as natural barriers to storm surges should be highlighted to increase their conservation.