West Bengal is set to be on high alert today as Cyclone Mocha intensifies into a very severe storm. Alerts have been sent out to several north-eastern states and to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as well.
Image Source: Indian Express
Background on Cyclones in the Bay of Bengal
The Bay of Bengal region occupies less than 1% of the world’s ocean area. Yet the region is responsible for 4/5ths of the world’s cyclone deaths. The region has gained notoriety for producing some of the world’s deadliest cyclones.
The deadliest cyclone in the region was the 1970 Bhola cyclone, which ravaged East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), killing over 300,000 people. Hundreds of villages were destroyed, and property worth hundreds of millions of dollars was destroyed.
Bhola Cyclone, Image Source: Time Ghost TV
In India, the 1999 Odisha cyclone killed over 10,000 people and caused property damage worth tens of thousands of crores. Even in the past few years, several cyclones have ravaged the region.
In 2019, Cyclone Fani caused over 50,000 crores of rupees in damages. In 2020, the super cyclone Amphan killed over 150 people in West Bengal and caused over 1 lakh crore in property damages.
Cyclone Mocha was named by the World Meteorological Organisation, as they name tropical storms to avoid confusion. Cyclone Mocha was named by Yemen, based on a village in Yemen that specialises in coffee production.
Cyclone Mocha formed in an oceanic depression in the Bay of Bengal. It picked up speeds of up to 135 km/h and transformed into a cyclone. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) predicts that the cyclone will intensify into a very severe cyclone by May 14.
The cyclone is said to make landfall near the Bangladesh and Myanmar border, and most of its effects will be felt on the Myanmar and Bangladesh coasts. Yet, several advisory and warnings have been issued in West Bengal, the North-East, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The government has moved swiftly, issuing advisories, and is working to minimise any damage that the cyclone can cause. The Indian Meteorological Department has been tracking the movement of the cyclone every day.
Similarly, eight National Disaster Response Force teams have been deployed to the Bengal region. Here is what Gurminder Singh, Commander of the 2nd Battalion NDRF, had to say to ANI News: “We’ve deployed 8 teams. 200 rescuers of the NDRF deployed on the ground and 100 rescuers on standby”.
The Indian Coast Guard has issued an official statement, saying its units are on high alert and have prepared for the response to Cyclone Mocha.
Image Source: Malaysian Insight
The Indian Government and Meteorological Department are keeping close track of Cyclone Mocha, and preparations, warnings, and advisories have been sent out to be ready for its impact.
Yet, the root cause behind the ever-increasing number of cyclones in the Bay of Bengal region is climate change and global warming, according to many scientists. They believe it is not just helping the formation of cyclones but also intensifying their effects and severity.