The Big Story: Storm trooping
Ten people have died after Cyclone Vardah made landfall at the Andhra Pradesh-Tamil Nadu coast on Monday, and then proceeded to sweep through Chennai. The cyclone left a trail of destruction across much of the city, ripping out window panes, rooftops and thousands of trees, many of which have fallen on power lines or transformers. As a result, the city – reeling from the effects of a cyclone passing through it – is now also powerless.
The cyclone is expected to hit Karnataka on Tuesday and then pivot towards south Goa, although the Met department expects it to have weakened significantly, the further inland it moves. At its strongest in Chennai, the storm had wind speeds of 110-120 kmph.
Reports seems to suggest the Tamil Nadu government was better prepared this year, compared to the devastating Chennai floods in 2016, when the administration seemed to be frozen. This year, the storm was spotted earlier and the communication clearer, with disaster teams deputed to evacuate people from low-lying areas – although we will have to wait to check on the status of coastal villages and towns before assessing the success of these operations.
More importantly, it is becoming clearer that events like the Chennai floods and Vardah – the worst cyclone to roll through the city in 22 years – are not anomalies. They are the new normal. Climate change has ensured that extreme weather events are going to be a regular occurrence, and they will hit our coastal cities and towns the hardest. A 2014 study suggested that severe or extremely severe cyclones are going to become an annual ritual in the Bay of Bengal.
It is too early to judge the success of preparation for Vardah, and it is a fact that cyclone deaths in India have steadily come down. But there is much more to still be done, if our coastal cities are to protect themselves from the impact of what now seem to be routinely extreme weather events.
The Big Scroll: Scroll.in on the day’s biggest story
- India’s coastal cities are woefully underprepared for extreme weather events, writes Nayantara Naryanan.
- How India went from 15,000 cyclone deaths in 1999 to just 38 in 2013.
- The Chennai Corporation’s plan to prevent flooding this year could end up making things worse, reports Anand Kumar.
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- The most galling aspect of this demonetisation campaign is the exhortation of patriotism, writes Milind Murugkar in Mint – “Bear it for your beloved India!”
- Lawrence Liang in the Hindu says the Delhi High Court’s reading of the copyright doctrine will further the cause of education and equitable access and could even serve as a global model.
- Legislatures should allow the media and public at committee proceedings, says Prasanna Kumar Suryadevara in the Indian Express.
- Lakshmi Chaudhry in the Columbia Journalism Review asks whether the digital revolution can save Indian journalism.
Arka Bhattacharya points out how massive 2016 has been for Indian cricketer Virat Kohli.
But Kohli in 2016 was more than just Kohli the test batsman. It was a year in which he terrorised bowlers of all nations in all formats, going way beyond Annus Mirabilis. For Kohli, the year 2016 was Anno Gloria(Magnificient Year in Latin).
In Twenty20 action, a format in which the entire team has only 120 balls to face, Kohli averaged a staggering 106.83. He did not quite hit a hundred in One-Day Internationals, but an average of 92.37 is hardly a laughing matter. He reserved his poorest form for the longest format, only managing an 80. Since his Test debut in 2011, there is no doubt that 2016 was Kohli’s most productive year till date.
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