Severe cyclones Tauktae (which made landfall in Gujarat) and Yaas (which made landfall in West Bengal) wreaked havoc on infrastructure, agriculture, and homes. One hundred ninety nine individuals died, 37 million people were impacted, and 320 billion (US$4.3 billion) in economic damages were incurred. A total of 0.24 million hectares of cropland were impacted, and around 0.45 million homes were destroyed. In these two states, 2.5 million people were evacuated to cyclone shelters and relief camps (Gujarat & West Bengal). These cyclones increased the financial burden on state governments during the COVID-19 epidemic.
What are the Problems?
In the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, five to six tropical cyclones occur each year, with two to three of them becoming severe. Cyclones caused significant damage to public and private assets between 1999 and 2020, resulting in losses rising from $2,990 million to $14,920 million in the absence of long-term mitigating efforts. According to a research published by the Asian Development Bank in 2014, India will lose 1.8 percent of its GDP yearly due to climate change by 2050. Increasing sea surface temperatures in the northern Indian Ocean have resulted in an increase in the frequency of catastrophic storms in coastal states, which account for 7% of all tropical cyclones worldwide. Between 1999 and 2020, India lost almost 2% of its GDP and 15% of its overall income. Cyclones have also raised governments’ budgetary burdens by requiring more investment to establish effective cyclone preparedness systems. After earthquakes (42 percent) and floods, cyclones are India’s third most deadly natural catastrophe (33 percent ). Cyclone-related deaths, on the other hand, have decreased from 10,378 in 1999 to 110 in 2020.
Odisha’s Cyclone Management Model
Following the 1999 super cyclone, the Odisha government implemented a number of cyclone mitigation measures, including Putting in place a catastrophe warning system in coastal areas, In cyclone-prone areas, evacuation shelters are being built. The Odisha State Disaster Management Authority was established (OSDMA). Meetings with the cabinet on a regular basis to discuss catastrophe preparation. The Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force is being built (ODRAF). Odisha’s disaster management approach, while effective, falls short of mitigating the economic losses caused by cyclones. As a result, the Indian government should take a few steps to reduce catastrophe damage and casualties. The cyclone warning system must be improved, and catastrophe preparedness procedures must be revamped. To reduce the impact of cyclones, the government must expand the area covered by shelterbelt plantings and assist in the regeneration of mangroves in coastal areas. To minimise waterlogging in low-lying areas, cyclone-resistant infrastructure such as storm surge-resistant embankments, canals, and improved river connection is being built. It’s critical to build disaster-resistant electricity infrastructure in coastal areas, provide concrete dwellings to poor and vulnerable families, and launch large community awareness programmes. Finally, effective cooperation between the Center and the affected States is critical for developing disaster mitigation plans as a group.