Tauktae, Yass and Planning for the next

Source:  The Hindu 

Relevance: Cyclone, its impacts and mitigation strategies

Synopsis: Cyclones in India, are the second most frequent phenomena causing widespread damage across the board. A brief look at cyclone scenario in India, the devastation caused by cyclones, including the protective measures that have been taken and can be taken in the future. 

Cyclones in India 
  1. Every year, around five to six tropical cyclones are formed in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea; of these, two to three turn severe.  
  2. The World Bank and the United Nations (2010) estimate that around 200 million city residents would be exposed to storms and earthquakes by 2050 in India. The west coast experienced 31 cyclones, while 282 cyclones crossed the east coast.  
  3. The Odisha coast witnessed 97 cyclones, followed by Andhra Pradesh (79), Tamil Nadu (58), West Bengal (48), Gujarat (22), Maharashtra/Goa (7), and Kerala (2). 
Extreme weather-related events in India 

Cyclones are the second most expensive in terms of the costs incurred in damage, accounting for 29% of the total disaster-related damages after floods (62%). Such extreme-weather related events cause massive loss to India every year.

  • India lost around 2% of GDP and 15% of total revenue over 1999-2020. 
  • According to the Global Climate Risk Index report 2021, India ranks the seventh worst-hit country globally in 2019 due to the frequent occurrence of extreme weather-related events 
  • In 2019, India also ranked first concerning human deaths and economic losses due to extreme weather-related events. 
Trends related to Cyclones in India 
  • Increasing frequency of cyclones: According to India Meteorological Department (IMD), 2013 data, increasing sea surface temperatures in the northern Indian Ocean and the geo-climatic conditions in India have led to a rise in the frequency of devastating cyclones in the coastal States accounting for 7% of the global tropical cyclones 
  • Decline in fatalities: Fatalities due to cyclones declined from 10,378 in 1999 to 110 in 2020. The significant drop was on account of improved early warning systems, cyclone forecasting, and better disaster management activities such as timely evacuation, rehabilitation and relief distributions. But these measures are not adequate to achieve a zero-fatality approach and minimise economic losses from cyclones. 
  • Increase in damages: Between 1999 and 2020, cyclones inflicted substantial damage to public and private properties, in the absence of long-term mitigation measures. In addition, damages caused due to cyclones increased nine times during the same period. 
  • Cyclones also led to an increase in the fiscal burden of governments through increased spending to implement effective cyclone preparation measures. As a result, direct government expenditure on natural calamities increased 13 times 
  • Improve the cyclone warning system and revamp disaster preparedness measures. 
  • Widen the cover under shelter belt plantations and help regenerate mangroves in coastal regions to lessen the impact of cyclones. 
  • Adopt cost-effective, long term mitigation measures, building cyclone resilient infrastructure (storm surge resilient embankments, canals, improving river connectivity to prevent waterlogging). 
  • Installing disaster resilient power infrastructure in the coastal districts, providing concrete houses to poor and vulnerable households and creating massive community awareness. 
  • A healthy coordination between the State and the Center for the effective implementation of measures. 
Must Read: Steps and suggestions to handle cyclone related disasters in India


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