Thousands evacuated as Cyclone Fani expected to hit India’s eastern coastal districts

Sahu said pre-monsoon cyclones occur regularly but they did not have much impact. “However, extremely severe cyclonic storms like Fani are rare in May.” Sahu revealed that climate change is the cause of such severe storms.

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Alarm bells are ringing in Odisha as the state’s 13 districts are likely to bear the cyclone’s brunt.

Officials say the government has kept at least 879 multipurpose cyclone shelters which can accommodate more than a million people during natural disasters like cyclones and floods.

The severity of the cyclone storm could trigger storm surges as high as five to seven meters along the coast causing the sea to sweep inland up to 10 km.Over 700,000 people have been evacuated as Cyclone Fani is expected to hit India’s eastern coastal districts. Alarm bells are ringing in Odisha as the state’s 13 districts are likely to bear the cyclone’s brunt. It is also expected to affect Mayurbhanj district and adjoining parts of south Jharkhand and West Bengal.

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The Odisha government is on high alert. Officials say the government has kept at least 879 multipurpose cyclone shelters which can accommodate more than a million people during natural disasters like cyclones and floods. A state relief department official said 780,000 people were moved overnight to safer places, and more people are still being moved. Shelters have also been set up in government buildings and schools. An official statement revealed that arrangements have been made for free kitchen, safe drinking water, lighting, health and sanitation.

The director of Centre for Environment and Climate (CEC) in Bhubaneswar, Sarat Chandra Sahu said they thought Cyclone Fani would graze the Odisha coast and veer off towards the north, but now, it was coming straight at the state. Sahu said the maximum sustained wind speed may be around 180 – 200 kmph. “The severity of the cyclone storm could trigger storm surges as high as five to seven meters along the coast causing the sea to sweep inland up to 10 km. This means steps are needed to evacuate people living in these areas close to the sea and shifted to cyclone shelters.” Sahu said pre-monsoon cyclones occur regularly but they did not have much impact. “However, extremely severe cyclonic storms like Fani are rare in May.” Sahu revealed that climate change is the cause of such severe storms.

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Dr Jennifer Fitchett from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa noted an interesting thing for the Indian Ocean, that the frequency of tropical cyclones has decreased ever so slightly over the last 70 years. “Instead, we are getting a much higher frequency of high-intensity storms.” Dr Fitchett had said this in March when Cyclone Idai swept through the Indian Ocean as the seventh major storm of the season. Experts agrees that a critical factor in the Southern Indian Ocean that is having an impact on these storms is a sea-surface temperatures. Warmer seas mean there is more energy available for cyclones.

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Thousands evacuated as Cyclone Fani expected to hit India’s eastern coastal districts
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Sahu said pre-monsoon cyclones occur regularly but they did not have much impact. “However, extremely severe cyclonic storms like Fani are rare in May.” Sahu revealed that climate change is the cause of such severe storms.
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The Policy Times