natural disaster

World Bank assessment shows Kerala lags in coastal cyclone risk mitigation project

Days after Cyclone Ockhi battered the state, documents show that progress in project has been “moderately unsatisfactory” because of Kerala and Maharashtra.

Progress in a World Bank-funded project to mitigate cyclone risk in states along the western coast of India has been “moderately unsatisfactory” largely due to poor performance by Kerala and Maharashtra, according to a World Bank mission report from September.

An estimated 178 fishermen from Kerala have reportedly been missing at sea after the state failed to issue adequate warnings to fishermen to stay away from the sea as Cyclone Ockhi passed through the waters off the Kerala coast. Large parts of the Lakshadweep archipelago, which is not a part of the World Bank project, were also devastated in the wake of the cyclone last week.

As of September, Kerala and Maharashtra were still drafting detailed project reports and conducting environment and social impact assessments, the report said. If the works are not tendered by April 2018, these states run the chance of not completing their work by 2021.

The National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project is a project with the Government of India, the National Disaster Management Authority under the Ministry of Home Affairs, the National Institute for Disaster Management and participating coastal states.

The project began seven years ago in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, where the international finance institution funded the building of roads, cyclone shelters and saline embankments along the coast. This phase was to be completed by the end of October, though Andhra Pradesh may get an extension until March 2018 after delays caused due to its bifurcation in 2014.

The second phase, with a planned budget of Rs 2,361 crores, of which the World Bank will contribute Rs 1,881 crores, shifts the focus to states along the western coast and to West Bengal. This phase began in 2015 and is still in the planning stage. Kerala has committed to building 27 cyclone shelters under the project, while Maharashtra will build 11 cyclone shelters, 50 km of saline embankments and underground electrical cable works in three districts.

According to the report, West Bengal, the only eastern state to be included in this second phase of the project, and Gujarat have tendered more than 50% of the planned work and begun to implement them. Karnataka and Goa have also issued tenders to build cyclone shelters.

Cyclone map delayed

There are other delays in the World Bank project, including a comprehensive risk atlas developed by RMSI, a geospatial data company. This atlas was meant to “provide a risk management framework for decision makers in the 13 States/UTs [Union Territories] and the Central Government to take mitigation steps to protect the people and assets of the country.”

The atlas assessed the vulnerabilities of different areas to cyclonic winds and flooding, and to the storm surge that frequently accompanies cyclonic storms. According to RMSI, 40% of India’s population lives within 100 km of the coast, and only a fifth of India’s coastline is not exposed to cyclones.

Six months ago, RMSI transferred the entire project to the government-run National Informatics Centre server. The government was supposed to open up the atlas to the public at that point, but this has not yet happened.

An expert involved with the project who asked not to be identified said, “The site was transferred to NIC [National Informatics Centre] servers about six months ago. Right now access is only available with [National Disaster Management Authority] through password protection. It has not gone live. It should have by now.”

The authority had, as of October 2016, given usernames and passwords to the participating states, the World Bank report said.

Cyclone frequency

The RMSI atlas classifies states into different levels of risk based on the frequency of cyclones in that region, the number of people living there and how well those places are able to manage disasters. States on the western coast – except Gujarat – and the Union Territory islands of Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar are less vulnerable to cyclones than states on the eastern coast.

As Cyclone Ockhi shows, this does not mean that they are immune to any cyclones at all.

Ockhi began to develop as a deep depression at around noon on November 29 near the South-West coast of Sri Lanka. This rapidly turned into a severe cyclonic storm as it passed Kerala on November 30 and battered the Lakshadweep Islands over the next two days as a very severe cyclonic storm. It then moved northwards towards Maharashtra and Gujarat where it reduced in intensity into a depression and then to a low pressure area over South coastal Gujarat by the morning of December 6.

Cyclones typically pass over the Bay of Bengal far more frequently than over the Arabian Sea. On average, the Bay of Bengal has experienced nearly six cyclones each year since 1891, according to data from the India Meteorological Department. By contrast, the Arabian Sea experiences only an average of 1.5 cyclones each year.

Credit: Anand Katakam
Credit: Anand Katakam

Since 1891, however, there have been five years where the Arabian Sea has seen more cyclones than the Bay of Bengal. Four of these have been after 2000.

Credit: Anand Katakam
Credit: Anand Katakam

Anger in Kerala

On Sunday, members of the fishing community blocked Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s car when he visited Vizhinjam, a fishing village near Thiruvananthapuram. They claim that the state did not do enough to warn fishermen on November 29 – when the cyclone was still forming near Sri Lanka – not to venture out into the sea.

Officials in the Kerala Disaster Management Authority attempted to shift blame to the India Meteorological Department, which they say only issued a fishing advisory and not a cyclone warning on November 29.

Sekhar Kuriakose, member secretary of the Kerala Disaster Management Authority, issued a press statement on December 1 claiming that the Met department could not have issued a cyclone warning on November 29 because the cyclone was still a deep depression till noon on November 30.

Kuriakose did not respond to an earlier request from Scroll.in for an interview.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Not just for experts: How videography is poised for a disruption

Digital solutions are making sure it’s easier than ever to express your creativity in moving images.

Where was the last time you saw art? Chances are on a screen, either on your phone or your computer. Stunning photography and intricate doodles are a frequent occurrence in the social feeds of many. That’s the defining feature of art in the 21st century - it fits in your pocket, pretty much everyone’s pocket. It is no more dictated by just a few elite players - renowned artists, museum curators, art critics, art fair promoters and powerful gallery owners. The digital age is spawning creators who choose to be defined by their creativity more than their skills. The negligible incubation time of digital art has enabled experimentation at staggering levels. Just a few minutes of browsing on the online art community, DeviantArt, is enough to gauge the scope of what digital art can achieve.

Sure enough, in the 21st century, entire creative industries are getting democratised like never before. Take photography, for example. Digital photography enabled everyone to capture a memory, and then convert it into personalised artwork with a plethora of editing options. Apps like Instagram reduced the learning curve even further with its set of filters that could lend character to even unremarkable snaps. Prisma further helped to make photos look like paintings, shaving off several more steps in the editing process. Now, yet another industry is showing similar signs of disruption – videography.

Once burdened by unreliable film, bulky cameras and prohibitive production costs, videography is now accessible to anyone with a smartphone and a decent Internet bandwidth. A lay person casually using social media today has so many video types and platforms to choose from - looping Vine videos, staccato Musical.lys, GIFs, Instagram stories, YouTube channels and many more. Videos are indeed fast emerging as the next front of expression online, and so are the digital solutions to support video creation.

One such example is Vizmato, an app which enables anyone with a smartphone to create professional-looking videos minus the learning curve required to master heavy, desktop software. It makes it easy to shoot 720p or 1080p HD videos with a choice of more than 40 visual effects. This fuss- free app is essentially like three apps built into one - a camcorder with live effects, a feature-rich video editor and a video sharing platform.

With Vizmato, the creative process starts at the shooting stage itself as it enables live application of themes and effects. Choose from hip hop, noir, haunted, vintage and many more.

The variety of filters available on Vizmato
The variety of filters available on Vizmato

Or you can simply choose to unleash your creativity at the editing stage; the possibilities are endless. Vizmato simplifies the core editing process by making it easier to apply cuts and join and reverse clips so your video can flow exactly the way you envisioned. Once the video is edited, you can use a variety of interesting effects to give your video that extra edge.

The RGB split, Inset and Fluidic effects.
The RGB split, Inset and Fluidic effects.

You can even choose music and sound effects to go with your clip; there’s nothing like applause at the right moment, or a laugh track at the crack of the worst joke.

Or just annotated GIFs customised for each moment.

Vizmato is the latest offering from Global Delight, which builds cross-platform audio, video and photography applications. It is the Indian developer that created award-winning iPhone apps such as Camera Plus, Camera Plus Pro and the Boom series. Vizmato is an upgrade of its hugely popular app Game Your Video, one of the winners of the Macworld Best of Show 2012. The overhauled Vizmato, in essence, brings the Instagram functionality to videos. With instant themes, filters and effects at your disposal, you can feel like the director of a sci-fi film, horror movie or a romance drama, all within a single video clip. It even provides an in-built video-sharing platform, Popular, to which you can upload your creations and gain visibility and feedback.

Play

So, whether you’re into making the most interesting Vines or shooting your take on Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’, experience for yourself how Vizmato has made video creation addictively simple. Android users can download the app here and iOS users will have their version in January.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Vizmato and not by the Scroll editorial team.