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The Five FAQs - Cyclone

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What is a cyclone? A cyclone is an extreme weather phenomenon caused by disturbances around a low pressure area over water bodies. Winds spiral around the centre of this low pressure area in a snake-like coil and gather speed. These winds rotate counterclockwise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere. What are the conditions in which a cyclone is formed? A warm sea (a temperature in excess of 26 degrees Celsius to a depth of 60 m) with abundant and turbulent transfer of water vapour to the overlying atmosphere by evaporation. Also, atmospheric instability encourages formation of massive vertical cumulus clouds due to convection with condensation of rising air above the ocean surface.   How can one prepare for a cyclone? Keeping mobile phones charged to ensure connectivity, checking verified sources of information for weather updates, keeping valuables and important documents in water-proof containers, along with preparing an emergency kit helps in preparing

Earthquake : The Trouble of Rubble

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Living in a 15 year old house, Mr. Dhawan rarely paid attention to the cracks in the ceiling and loose shelves on the walls. His neighbour told him to repair the damaged walls countless number of times, but Mr. Dhawan, who lived alone, had already adjusted to the broken-ness of his house. On the morning of 26 January 2001, when Mr. Dhawan was leaving his house in Bhuj to attend the Republic Day Celebrations in his society’s park, a massive 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck. Luckily he had reached the park, dropped down and covered his head with his hand and stayed in the open space. While he was safe along with other people, he saw his house tumble down to pieces in front of his eyes. There was nothing left, only rubble.   The sudden tremors, shaking or vibration of the earth’s surface is called an Earthquake. There are natural factors as well as some man made factors. Natural factors like disturbance in the earth’s crust (uppermost layer of the earth) or movement of earth’s plates shows

Getting A Grip On Landslides

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On their way to the Char Dham yatra to Badrinath for the first time, Mr. Verma and his family were enjoying the cloudy weather on their route. Unfortunately, it began to rain heavily when they were halfway to their destination. They continued their journey with caution, but just a few minutes later got stuck in a 2-km-long jam. They could see from their car, with the little visibility the heavy rain permitted, that a massive piece of slope had slipped down and blocked the roadway.  A landslide is an uncontrollable downhill flow of rock, earth, debris; and is caused by heavy rainfall, earthquake etc. Landslides are among the major geological hazards that affect large parts of India about 12.6% of the landmass, excluding snow-covered areas. The Himalayas, the Northeastern hill ranges, the Western Ghats, the Nilgiris, the Eastern Ghats and the Vindhyans are heavily affected by landslides of a bewildering variety and pose chronic problems for the local communities.    Technology-Driven Sol

In Conversation With Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain (Retd), Member, NDMA On Landslides

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Recurring landslides in India bring forth the need to tackle the issue with utmost urgency. Aapda Samvaad spoke with Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain (Retd), Member, NDMA on the mitigation and management of landslides in India and how the threat of landslides can be reduced with a combined eort from communities and authorities. How prone is India to landslides? India is ecologically challenged by the phenomenon of landslides. According to the Geological Survey of India (GSI), about 12.6% of our land area is prone to landslides which translates to 24 States in India. The common perception is that most of this would be concentrated in the Himalayan belt, and looking at the risk mapping of landslide prone areas, the Himalayas do emerge as the most risk prone area. But, India has a fairly large percentage of area which is prone to landslides, such as in central India, the Vindhyas; the Western Ghats & Nilgiris, the Eastern Ghats and even the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. How can we reduce the ri

In conversation with Shri Rajendra Singh, Member, NDMA on Aapda Mitra Initiative

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The Aapda Mitra Initiative was launched in 2016, with an aim to train 6000 community volunteers in 30 flood prone districts. Four years later, volunteers of this initiative have risen in the face of various disasters including COVID-19 to safeguard community members. Aapda Samvaad spoke with Rajendra Singh, Member, NDMA to take a peek into the progress of the initiative as well as future plans.  You recently led a team from NDMA to Uttarakhand to review the Aapda Mitra Project. Please tell us about your experience.  Haridwar is one of the districts selected under Aapda Mitra scheme. Under the scheme 200 Aapda Mitra volunteers were trained in disaster response especially flood risk management.  DDMA Haridwar conducted a flood rescue demonstration with the support of trained Aapda Mitra Volunteers. Manual rescue as well as rescue by boat was also demonstrated. The District Magistrate of Haridwar presented a brief on mitigation activities done by DDMA Haridwar.  A meeting was held with Shri

The Corona Commandos!

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Police - The Unsung Corona Warriors  - P.N. Rai, Member, Bihar State Disaster Management Authority  Among all the Corona Warriors, the A most visible yet the most underappreciated has been the humble policeman. Despite limited resources and grave risk to life, India's police agencies have risen to the challenge. Without them, achieving the primary objective of the lockdown – restricting the outbreak – would have been impossible.  As the lockdown began on the midnight of March 24, people sheltered at home, commercial activities came to a halt and transport was grounded, traditional police functions were replaced by new ones. In place of the routine duties of law-and-order maintenance, crime control, and traffic management, police were tasked to ensure that the lockdown was effective. As the situation evolved, many new responsibilities were added. As the pandemic is expected to continue for a few months more, newer dimensions of policing will emerge.  The National Policy on Disaster M

Saving Our Cities : Overcoming Urban Flooding Through Community Efforts

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On a cloudy Thursday morning, 42 year old Mr. Nayak (name changed) began his journey from his home to his office in Mumbai. The meteorological agencies had been forecasting heavy rainfall since early week. According to the forecast, heavy rainfall was to coincide with a high tide situation. Little did he know that ignoring the warnings would make him a victim of urban flood. He was stuck in traffic for 7 hours due to extremely heavy rainfall. On the same day, it was reported that a person went missing in flood waters. Of late, urban flood has become a pertinent issue in cities across the world.  Urban flood is caused by three main factors – meteorological, hydrological and human. Meteorological factors include heavy rainfall, cyclonic storms and thunderstorms; hydrological factors include presence or absence of overbank flow channel networks and occurrence of high tides impeding the drainage. Human activities such as - land use changes, surface sealing due to urbanization which increases runo