Disaster Diaries: Amphan

Government response towards Amphan and its environmental consequences

Team Law Community
June 18, 2020

Amphan is the first super cyclone form in the Bay of Bengal since 1999. The worst part is that it hit India when we are busy fighting with Coronavirus. In India, it hit the eastern cities of West Bengal and Orissa with a wind speed of 185 km/hr. Also,it largely affects the area of Sundarbans, mangrove in both India and Bangladesh. 

The IMD had already warned the government about it since when the low-pressure zone created in the Bay of Bengal. The reasoning with a super cyclone is that there is less number of aerosols in the air due to lockdown. Aerosols are the polluting particles in the environment. Due to lockdown pollution level is low hence help the cyclone to build strong. 

Amphan cyclone is so harsh that it killed around 84 people. However, no loss of life reported from Orissa. But almost 60 percent of West Bengal population is affected by this super cyclone. Fisher folk communities suffered the most significant loss. Their nest, boat and homes are damaged totally.

 

India is not affected alone-

India is not the only country that was affected so severely by the super cyclone. Our neighbour Bangladesh also suffers a lot of loss of resources and life. 

It was reported 22 deaths. In Jashore city only 12 of them have died. Damage of taka 12 billion,i.e. USD 129 million, was reported. It affects housing, infrastructure,fisheries and livestock, water resources and agriculture. Around 1100 km of road was damaged in 26 districts. 200 bridges were also affected. In 36.4 million of total electricity connections, 20 million were affected.

 

Indian Government Response-

The West Bengal Chief Minister called Amphan a bigger disaster than COVID-19. 

For this Prime Minister Modi also announced a relief package of 1500 crore.In which, 1000 were for West Bengal and 500 for Orissa. He also appreciated both state governments for fighting with this disaster. However, the West Bengal government claimed that the damage was of 1 lack crore. 

An Ex-gratia of 2 lakh to each family who loses a life and 50,000 to the injured one also granted.  

NDRF constantly worked during disaster management. Also, Amphan relief fund in the name of West Bengal Disaster management authority was formed. In this,anyone can donate to help the needy. 

Some guidelines were also issued by the government for all-

  • A senior officer to be appointing as Nodal officer.
  • The Nodal officer will coordinate with upper authorities.
  • All claims should be surveyed immediately. 
  • Claim payment should be made as soon as possible.
  • Necessary discretion in relaxing procedure and document is given.
  • Companies should coordinate with government for the awareness program.

 

Environmental Consequences-

The cyclone winds and rain is not the only consequence of a cyclone, various other consequences were seen. 

  • It made landfall in many places, mainly in the Sagar Islands.
  • Lashing coastal areas with ferocious winds. The tiled roof being peeled off by it.
  • Thousand of trees were unprotected.
  • The roads of Kolkata flooded with water. Around 14 million people remain without power.
  • The roads were blocked by broken trees and flooded roads. 
  • Also, IMD warns that warmer air holding more moisture cause ‘rain bowls’ that often affect cities. 
  • Botanical Garden of Calcutta also affected.

Some studies on the cyclone Alia shows some more environmental consequences. The study shows that cyclone Alia doesn’t cause much damage, but its long term effects are devastating. Experts said that similar long term effects can also be seen with cyclone Amphan also.

 

Conclusion-

The response of government toward this super cyclone is definitely appreciated. It is because of them that we suffer a relatively less loss this time. 

However, we still face loss. The question which comes in mind now is-

What reforms do we need to minimize loss during such disasters? The experts recommend that there is a need for underground cables in coastal areas,especially. The use of French windows should be stopped above the 22nd floor. 

Also, another need of the time is to teach disaster management at the school level. So that everyone can know- how to protect themselves and others. 

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