1. Cyclone Laila: In 2010, after a gap of two decades the south-eastern part of India was hit by two ‘severe’ cyclones within a gap a few months; The first being Cyclone Laila which entered along the coast of the Bay of Bengal. Total deaths in Sri Lanka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu amounting to 65 and cost of damage reached a total of USD 117.49 million. Fishermen, who set out in about a 100 boats, were lost at sea, according to fisheries department sources.
2. Cyclone Jal: Following Cyclone Laila, Cyclone Jal formed in the Pacific Ocean on 31st October. Torrential rains poured in Thailand causing extensive flooding which led to the demise of 59 people and similarly claimed four more lives in Malaysia. Subsequently, Jal proceeded towards Andhra Pradesh where, through timely warnings. 70,000 people were evacuated from villages where damage was expected to be the highest. On 9th November, the C.M. of the state declared 54 people dead due to the storm. The Centre then promised twenty kilograms of rice and five litres of kerosene to each family in flood-affected areas with Rs. 2 lakhs also to be given as compensation to the families of the victims. The total damage estimated by the Indian government was USD 53.55 million with Visakhapatnam district suffering a damage of USD 18.53 million, Nellore district suffering a damage of USD 22.59 million and Prakasam district suffering a damage of USD 12.43 million.
3. Cyclone Phailin: Originating and named in Vietnam, Cyclone Phailin was a cyclone of matched magnitude to hit the peninsula in October 2013. The cyclone hit Andhra Pradesh and resulted in the evacuation of 64,000 people from low-lying areas. A total of 134,426 people were eventually evacuated. Power and communication lines went down across the district. With one casualty, the damage amounted to USD 8.1 million in Andhra Pradesh alone. Other affected states like Odisha, Jharkhand and neighbouring states recorded losses upto USD 688 million. Odisha recorded the casualties to be 44 people dying due to storm related accidents.
4. Cyclone Hudhud: The last time a cyclone of Vardah’s scale breached from the Bay of Bengal was in October 2014 when Cyclone Hudhud originated from the Andaman Islands and snowballed into a category IV cyclone, being dubbed as ‘Extremely Severe.’ It proceeded to hit the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha. The estimated damages were approximated to a total of USD 3.4 billion. Death toll due to the cyclone hit 124. Unlike most Bay of Bengal storms that dissipate quickly over land, Hudhud has been the only tropical cyclone whose remnant ever reached as far north as the Himalayas. The cyclone further proceeded up north to trigger an avalanche in Nepal. Prime Minister Modi announced of October 15th that USD 136 million was to be awarded as aid for affected areas in Andhra Pradesh.
5. Cyclone Nada: More recently, Cyclone Nada appeared to threaten the peninsula in late November 2016. However, as the states geared up, the cyclone seemed to fizzle out with its landfall in Tamil Nadu. Heavy winds were encountered, however. Schools were shut for two days to acts as storm shelters for the citizens. Unfortunately, 12 deaths were still recorded related to the storm.
Turning from ‘very severe’ to ‘severe’, Cyclone Vardah has breached Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. With its landfall, the cyclone is currently at category 1 strength and is expected to weaken with sustained winds of 80 to 90 kmph.
Schools have been closed and India’s labour department has issued an advisory, requesting companies to allow employees to work from their homes.
Fishermen too, have been advised to stay away from waters.
In addition, the agricultural sector has been hit severely with widespread destruction of banana plantations, papaya groves and rice paddies.