The word “Cyclone” has been derived from the Greek word “Cyclos” which means the “coils of a snake”. The Bay of Bengal’s tropical storms seemed to Henri Peddington, the coiled and twisting snakes in the sea and this made him name the storms “Cyclones”. The “Cyclonic Storm” is a strong current of air or a swivel in the atmosphere in which strong winds circulate in the clockwise and anti-clockwise direction in the Couth and North Hemisphere respectively.
Cyclonic disturbances can be of different types:-
- Low Pressure Area
- Deep Depression
- Cyclonic Storm
- Severe Cyclonic Storm
- Very Severe Cyclonic Storm
- Super Cyclonic Storm
Cyclones take place in favorable oceanic and atmospheric conditions. India has a very long coastline of 8041 km and so India reels under Cyclone’s dominance, where many parts are prone to cyclone. Cyclones in India usually hit the East Coast; some cyclones from the Arabian Sea beat India’s west coast, and also North Maharashtra and Gujarat. More than 58% storms developing in the Bay of Bengal, approaches the eastern coast in the month of October and November. Cyclones do not develop in the Arabian Sea in January, February and March and are mostly rare in the months of April, July, August and September. The storms mainly develop during the months of May, June, October, November and December. The life span of the intense cyclonic storms in Indian seas stays at an average of 4 days. Most vulnerable in India are North Orissa, West Bengal coasts, Andhra Pradesh coast near Ongole and Machilipatnam, the south of Nagapatnam in the Tamil Nadu coast. India’s western coast is less prone to cyclones than the eastern coast. The north of Harnai in the Maharashtra coast, southern Gujarat coast, the Gulf of Bombay, coastal areas near the Gulf of Kutch are however prone to storm surges.
Cyclones can cause huge destruction besides taking a toll of life. Thousands of human beings and live- stock drown, beaches are eroded, vegetation is destroyed and soil fertility is reduced. Strong cyclones can even damage dwellings, installations, communication systems etc. Heavy and extended rains as a result of the cyclones can also cause submergence and floods, pollution of drinking water resulting in epidemics.
In 1969, the Government of India recommended to maritime states to construct “Cyclone Distress Mitigation Committee” or CDMC in different states in order to save life and minimize damage. Prevention measures may include building of storm shelters, linked roads for the evacuation process, creation of wind breaks, bunds, flood storage reservoirs, dykes, undertaking afforestation, improve the drainage facilities etc. CDMCs have undertaken programmes for creating public awareness through the use of brochures, audiovisual aids, information pamphlets, meetings for cyclone preparedness, discussions in television and radio.
The post disaster support may include-
- Emergency shelter
- Medical aid
- Search and rescue
- Purification of Water
- Provide of food and water for short terms
- Reopening of roads
- Provision of temporary lodging
- Epidemiological surveillance
- Reestablish communication network and contact the remote areas
- Disaster assessment
- Debris clearance