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Opinion

Amphan brings a message – editorials

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Cyclone Amphan, the most severe storm in the Bay of Bengal since 1999, hit India (Odisha and West Bengal) and Bangladesh on Wednesday. Of the two Indian states, West Bengal was the hardest hit when the cyclone touched down in the Sundarbans at a top speed of 185 km / h, but was parallel to the Odisha coast. The winds decreased as the cyclone moved northeast, but it was powerful enough to destroy uncemented houses, uproot trees and crops, and power pylons, and caused rivers to break their embankments. “Yes Aila [2009] he was 10, this is 110, “said West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. As of this writing, the death toll in Bengal has reached 72. It may have been higher in the state (and in Odisha) , but for timely prediction by the Indian Department of Meteorology (IMD); mass evacuation by both states (6.58,000 people); the presence of cyclone shelters; and regular cyclone updates by state authorities to people.

CLOCK | Cyclone Amphan leaves trail of destruction in Odisha and West Bengal

The next phase of the work begins now: rebuilding infrastructure and reaching people with food, clean water and medical aid. Many of those who have moved into temporary shelters are now homeless. Farmers have lost not only crops, but also livestock. The storm surge may also have caused saline water to enter the Sundarbans’ fields and homes. This will affect soil quality and affect productivity, and will force people to migrate in search of livelihoods. States now need to carry out a detailed evaluation of what Amphan has done. Reconstruction efforts are never easy; Now it will be much more difficult with states fighting another challenge that has affected their finances and human resources: the coronavirus pandemic.

Cyclone Amphan is also a reminder that the oceans are warming due to increased emissions, and warm ocean water is a key ingredient in tropical cyclone formation. The number of cyclones in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal has increased by 32% in the past five years, according to IMD data. However, the solutions, which address the sources of global warming and reverse and improve adaptation techniques and climate resilience, are complex and costly processes. It also needs tremendous political will and the support and participation of people to ensure that development is sustainable. But it has to be done; otherwise, the costs, as Cyclone Amphan has shown, will be huge and recurring.

Hindustan Times

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