The cyclone Hudhud that hit the coastal districts of Andra Pradesh and Odisha, on Sunday had claimed the lives of eight people causing widespread destruction all over the region.
The cyclone which advanced at a speed of more than 200 kilometres per hour literally obliterated Vishakapattanam. The power and telecommunication lines were cut off and roads have been damaged in the wind, rain and the floods accompanying the cyclone which has been termed as a "very severe cyclonic storm" by the India Meteorological Department (IMD). The department had warned about the arrival of Hudhud and the state had braced up for the disaster management. Around 4 lakh people were evacuated from Andra Pradesh and Odisha and rescue operations were already underway with the Air Force and the Navy, all set to counter the calamity. The advanced weather predictions and the telecommunication facilities along with mass evacuation have helped reduce the damage to lives.
Natural calamities causing death and destruction are not new to India. The recent floods in Kashmir were the worst in the last fifty years claiming more than 200 lives and causing severe casualties. The country had also witnessed the floods and landslides in Uttarakhand, the worst after the Tsunami in 2004. In India, the counter measures taken for disaster management, predictions about the arrival of the floods or the cyclones as well as the relief measures afterwards have been sluggish. Despite having 157 disaster management systems in the country, the rescue efforts are very slow. In Kashmir, there are no such systems and the locals participated in the rescue operations along with the army. Andra Pradesh, right now, is experiencing food shortages, lack of fuel and afflicted with spreadable diseases after the catastrophe. Odisha had also incurred a total loss of lives and properties worth around Rs. 54,000 crore in the cyclone that hit the State during 1995. Japan and Australia are also under the threat of looming cyclones according to the reports.
The country has witnessed earthquakes, cyclones, storms and draughts in the past and the frequency of the catastrophes are escalating. Climatic changes are also throwing a major challenge for the humanity as a whole. Therefore more advanced measures for disaster management are required along with equal support from the people.