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Issue No:78
  • :January
  • :2018

Samudra Report No.78, January 2018

India / Natural Hazards

In the Eye of the Storm

In the wake of tropical cyclone Ockhi, the focus now should be on improving at-sea cyclone preparedness and search-and-rescue co-ordination to save precious lives

This report is by Manas Roshan (, journalist and writer based in New Delhi, India

As a low-pressure system in the Bay of Bengal, near the southeast coast of Sri Lanka, intensified into a depression in the early hours of 29 November 2017, as per its well-established protocol, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) issued its first bulletin warning of gusty winds and heavy rainfall over south Kerala and south Tamil Nadu. The bulletin was dispatched to the senior-most levels of the central and state governments, including the control room of the National Disaster Management Authority and the chief secretaries of the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Fifteen per cent of all depressions develop into cyclones, and the bulletins are meant to forewarn the government’s disaster managers, the shipping industry and coastal communities.

As the information reached the Kerala government, Alban Alphonse was preparing to go to sea for the day’s fishing in Poonthura village, less than 10 km from the state capital, Thiruvananthapuram. Each day at...

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