Death And Destruction
A gentle breeze is definitely not fitting to describe tropical cyclone ‘ Ockhi.’ With wind speeds gaining up to 165 km per hour, Ockhi has been wreaking havoc in Tamil Nadu, Kerala. The government of Kerala described Ockhi as ‘an unprecedented calamity,’ necessitating the rescue of more than 2,600 fisherman. Search and rescue missions are still underway. Cyclone Ockhi arrived on the coast of Kerala on November 30 claiming 29 lives, mostly fishermen. The cyclone damaged crops, coconut trees, spice plantations, homes and sea barriers. The government has announced a total of 4,501 completely and partially damaged houses. Trees plunging on national highways disrupted traffic and as many as 200 trees had to be removed from roads. With such chaos it’s not surprising that many districts were left in the dark with no power supply.
Relief measures offered by the state government are:
- Rs 5 lakh to each of the families of those who had lost their lives in the calamity.
- Fishermen families will get free ration for a month, daily relief amounts of Rs 60 (for elders) and Rs 45 (for children) will be given for seven days.
- Those who had lost their boats, nets and other fishing equipment will be compensated.
- Assistance of Rs 10 lakh each to the families of the deceased fishermen, and a Rs-5 lakh grant by the state Fisheries department.
- An amount of Rs 5 lakh will be given to those fishermen, who were severely injured in the cyclone and cannot venture into the sea anymore
The Trail Continues
The tropical storm continued its destructive route to Mumbai, where the city received its highest rainfall for the month of December. Schools were closed to ease congestion on the roads. It has also slumped 80,000 kg of trash onto the nearby beaches. Gujarat prepared for the cyclone, as the Municipal evacuated 1,600 people to safer places. An additional 1,000 people moved temporarily to other secure locations. Police, fire brigades and ambulances were put on standby. However, by now the cyclone had lost much of its ferocity and all that Surat experienced was mild rain, and cloudy cold weather.
Despite being caught off guard with death and destruction culminating each day, the government has already proposed various strategies to avoid such issues in the future.
- Free education and skill training to be given to the children of the deceased fishermen and those missing after the cyclone.
- Government plans to set up a registry, including names of fishermen to be entered before proceeding for fishing.
- Efforts will also be made to equip the fishing boats with global positioning system (GPS) devices for tracing the location of fishermen at times of emergency.
- The Coastal Police force will include the recruitment of 200 new members.
Often we are oblivious to the everyday sunshine we are blessed with and take the weather for granted as we step out of our homes. It is only realised when mother nature sends us hellish conditions and reminds us that she is in control, and that despite our advances in technology and medicine, we remain fragile to the forces of nature.