Synopsis: Precise forecasts and resilience-building are very important in handling severe cyclones.
- Cyclone Tauktae has become a severe cyclonic storm. It is throwing huge volumes of water all along the west coast. It caused loss of life in Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, and Gujarat, before fading overland.
- Thousands of people had to be evacuated to safe locations. This year’s pre-monsoon season is posing a double risk. People are stuck between a fast-spreading virus variant and a pounding storm.
- Many coastal residents would have gone through a similar experience last year, when the severe cyclonic storm, Nisarga, moved landwards from the Arabian Sea.
Initiatives and suggestions
India has taken many steps in forecasting, disaster mitigation. However, it needs to develop greater expertise in crafting policies to increase resilience among communities. Only then it would be prepared to handle cyclones.
- Firstly, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) introduced an impact-based cyclone warning system from the October-December season aimed to reduce economic losses last year. It focussed on districts and specific locations. It also incorporated factors such as population, infrastructure, land use, and settlements.
- Secondly, the IMD claimed that its accuracy of forecasts is now better. For instance, in plotting landfall location. This is a promising approach (along with ground mapping of vulnerabilities) to avoid loss of life and destruction of property.
- Thirdly, the importance of accurate early warnings cannot be over stressed. The Arabian Sea has become a major source of severe cyclones. Their intensity is heightened by a long-term rise in sea surface temperatures related to pollution over South Asia and its neighbourhood.
- Lastly, climate-proofing of lives and dwellings should be a high priority now. Climate proofing requires a multi-sectoral approach:
- To build durable homes of suitable design.
- Create adequate storm shelters.
- Provide accurate early warnings.
- Ensure financial protection against calamities through insurance for property and assets. Governments must rise up to this challenge.
Source: click here