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Cyclone Tauktae

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May 19, 2021

What is the issue?

  • The recent Cyclone Tauktae has left a trail of death and destruction before making landfall in Gujarat.
  • This reminds again that accurate forecasts and resilience-building hold the key to handling severe cyclones.

How severe was Cyclone Tauktae?

  • Cyclone Tauktae swelled into an extremely severe cyclonic storm.
  • It led to dumping enormous volumes of water all along the west coast.
  • The cyclone caused loss of life in Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat, before weakening overland.
  • The twin crises of the cyclone and COVID-19 have strained the capacities of multiple States, especially the coastal ones.

What are IMD’s recent measures?

  • In 2020, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) launched an impact-based cyclone warning system.
  • This was designed to reduce economic losses by focusing on districts and specific locations.
  • It incorporates such factors as population, infrastructure, land use and settlements.
  • The IMD also claimed that its accuracy of forecasts, for instance, in plotting landfall location, is now better.
  • Together with ground mapping of vulnerabilities, this is a promising approach to avoid loss of life and destruction of property.

What are the priorities now?

  • Developing greater expertise in forecasting and disaster mitigation is essential.
  • Crafting policies to increase resilience among communities is another priority.
  • Arabian Sea has emerged as a major source of severe cyclones.
  • Their intensity is aggravated by long-term rise in sea surface temperatures linked to pollution over South Asia and its neighbourhood.
  • So importance of precise early warnings is high now than before.
  • Climate-proofing lives and dwellings is also a high priority now.
  • This calls for a multi-sectoral approach:
  1. to build sturdy homes of suitable design
  2. create adequate storm shelters
  3. provide accurate early warnings
  4. ensure financial protection against calamities through insurance for property and assets

 

Source: The Hindu

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