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Issue No:78
  • :January
  • :2018

Samudra Report No.78, January 2018


A Stitch in Time

Cyclone Ockhi, which hit southern India late last year, brought out the need to empower communities to manage risks through locally owned and locally appropriate approaches

This article is by K G Thara (, Head, Disaster Management Centre, Government of Kerala, India

Historically, the western coast of India has always witnessed fewer cyclones than the eastern coast. While 58 per cent of the cyclones that developed over the Bay of Bengal crossed the east coast, only 25 per cent of the cyclones that developed over the Arabian Sea affected the west coast. A marked deviation from this status quo was observed on 30 November 2017, when Cyclone Ockhi killed 174 fishermen from the state of Kerala and 108 fishermen from the state of Tamil Nadu. The economic loss caused by Ockhi amounted to US$5.07 bn.

Official sources put the number of missing fishermen as 527—300 from Kerala, and 227 from the Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu. However, the estimates put forward by fishermen’s groups and the Catholic Church is double the official number. Failure of both the state and the central governments to even come up with the exact number of fishermen and fishing boats lost at sea, has come under severe criticism. Even...

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