Cyclone Gaja: Being prepared against extreme events

Cyclone Gaja: Being prepared against extreme events


  1. The article discusses about the effective mitigation measures taken by the government in tackling Cyclone Gaja.

Important Facts:

  1. Tamil Nadu’s political parties have acted in a mature manner and kept partisan criticism from getting in the way of relief and rehabilitation after Gaja.
  2. This is in contrast to some earlier instances, such as the Chennai flood of 2015, when the distribution of relief became politicised.
  3. About Cyclone Gaja:
  • This is the first cyclone to move towards Tamil Nadu this year.
  • The earlier two named Daye and Titli had made landfall along the Odisha coasts, brought heavy rainfall and damaged the coastal districts of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Though most of the low pressure areas are formed in the Bay of Bengal or the Arabian sea, some have their roots elsewhere. Gaja is one such cyclone.
  • Usually, such cyclones are formed when remnants of typhoons from the Pacific Ocean come into the Indian Ocean or the Bay of Bengal and re-intensify into cyclones when they find warm ocean waters in these regions.
  • Cyclone Gaja could have formed from a remnant of Super typhoon Yutu, which had devastated the Philippines in the last week of October.
  1. Cyclonic depressions:
  • All cyclones begin as low pressure areas over the ocean surface and then intensify into depressions, deep depressions, cyclones, severe cyclones and very severe cyclones based on their wind speeds.
  • In this year, 13 depressions have already formed over the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.
  • This is the highest number of depressions in the region in the past 26 years, according to data from the IMD.
  • The last time 13 depressions were formed in a single year in the North Indian Ocean was in 1992.
  1. General efforts to professionalise disaster management:
  • The National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project started by the Ministry of Home Affairs has been working to reduce the impact of such catastrophic events on Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.
  • These are classified as States with higher vulnerability; most western coastal States are in the next category.
  • The lead taken by the State Disaster Management Authority in issuing a stream of alerts ahead of Gaja helped coastal residents move to camps and adopt safety measures.
  • The active measures taken by the State after the cyclone, notably to clear roads, remove fallen trees and repair power infrastructure and communications, helped restore some stability.
  1. Way Forward:
  • However, there is a lot to be done to upgrade infrastructure and housing in coastal districts to meet higher standards of resilience in an era of extreme weather events.
  • India’s coastline experiences a lower frequency of tropical cyclones compared to many other regions, but the loss of life and destruction is much higher.
  • Coastal States must, therefore, focus on reducing the hazard through policies that expand resilient housing, build better storm shelters and create financial mechanisms for insurance and compensation.


Print Friendly and PDF