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Taking up almost the entire southern tip of India, Tamil Nadu is the country's second-largest economy. Its delta region is considered to be the "rice bowl" of the state, also producing coconuts, bananas, nuts, spices and sugar cane. On 16 November 2018, Cyclone Gaja struck Tamil Nadu's coastal areas, devastating local agriculture and infrastructure, and destroying thousands of homes.
Despite the region being prone to extreme weather and residents receiving some advance warning, locals reported that emergency responders only managed to reach many of the remote villages a week later. Perhaps few in the West are aware of the extent of the damage and distress this violent cyclone caused. When it comes to major storms and environmental disasters, the world's media tend to focus more keenly when developed countries are affected.
Devastation - Weather - Tamil - Nadu - Damning
The devastation caused by extreme weather in Tamil Nadu remains a damning indictment on India's ability to effectively address such emergencies, whether that be taking preventative measures or actually coping with the aftermath with a proper disaster management plan.
Cyclone Gaja saw 45 deaths reported, crops destroyed and livestock killed. One farmer committed suicide after his small coconut plantation – his main source of income – was destroyed. People were traumatised in coastal districts that were unprepared for winds of speed of 160km/h – a category 2 tropical cyclone according to the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale. Millions of trees were uprooted, agricultural land devastated, transportation blocked by debris, communications downed and there were power outages for eight weeks. Three months on and there is still only a limited power supply to some remote areas.
State - Cyclone - Ockhi - Cyclone - Vardah
It was this very same southern state which faced Cyclone Ockhi in 2017, Cyclone Vardah in 2016, man-made flooding in Chennai in 2015, and of course, the Boxing Day Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004.Around 300 Tamil Nadu fishermen missing...
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