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India faced 117 cyclones between 1970 and 2019, more than 40,000 lives lost: study | India News


NEW DELHI: Up to 117 cyclones struck India in 50 years between 1970 and 2019 and claimed more than 40,000 lives, according to a study on extreme weather events, which also establishes that the death rate due to tropical cyclones has decreased significantly in the last 10 years. .
A total of 7,063 extreme weather events killed 1,41,308 people during the period in the country, which included 40,358 (or 28 percent) due to cyclones and 65,130 (just over 46 percent) due to flooding, according to the study. .
The research article published earlier this year has been written by M Rajeevan, Secretary of the Ministry of Earth Sciences, together with scientists Kamaljit Ray, SS Ray, RK Giri and AP Dimri.
Kamaljit Ray is the lead author of the article.
Earlier this month, the western coast witnessed the fury of Cyclone Tauktae, which struck the Gujarat coast as an extremely severe cyclonic storm, leaving a trail of destruction in several states, killing nearly 50 people.
The eastern part of the country is currently facing ‘very severe cyclonic storm’ Yaas that hit the coasts of Odisha and West Bengal on Wednesday before moving further into the country.
The study claims that the number of deaths from cyclones has dropped significantly over the past two decades, the past few years having seen a vast improvement in IMD’s weather forecasting capabilities.
In 1971, according to the study, four tropical cyclones developed in the Bay of Bengal in a period of approximately six weeks, from the end of September to the first week of November.
Of these, the most destructive hit the coast of Odisha in the early morning of October 30, 1971, causing very serious damage to life and property, according to the study.
About 10,000 people were reported to have lost their lives and more than a million were left homeless, he said.
In 1977, two tropical cyclones developed over the Bay of Bengal between November 9 and 20, of which the second (Chirala cyclone), which was a very severe tropical cyclone with a wind speed of the order of 200 kilometers per hour along with the tide. 5-meter-high waves hit the coast of Andhra Pradesh, according to the study.
The estimated mortality was around 10,000 and the total damage to infrastructure and crops was more than USD 25 million.
In the 1970-1980s alone there were more than 20,000 deaths due to cyclones.
“Overall, the analysis showed that the mortality rate associated with tropical cyclones decreased by almost 88% in the last decade (2010-2019) compared to the previous decade (2000-2009) despite the increasing trend of severe tropical cyclones during the post-monsoon season in the Bay of Bengal, ”states the newspaper.
The Director General of the Indian Meteorological Department Mrutunjay Mohapatra said the reasons for deaths during cyclones have changed over the years with the improvement in IMD’s forecasting capabilities.
Previously, storm surge was the main reason behind the deaths, but now the deaths are mainly caused by the collapse of a tree or a house now, he said.
Storms produce strong winds that push water onto shores, which can lead to flooding. This makes storm surges very dangerous for coastal regions.
But over a period of time, the prognosis and response to these events have changed considerably, he said, adding that people are now being evacuated from low-lying areas with advance warnings.
Cyclones also bring fatal thunderstorms, lightning and heavy rain, he said.

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