Severe Cyclonic Storm Phailin Affected Indian States; Disaster Management Saved Lives

Very Severe Cyclonic Storm Phailin affected India as well as Thailand, Myanmar and Nepal on 12 October 2013. Thousands saved because of disaster management.

Created On: Oct 15, 2013 15:13 ISTModified On: Oct 15, 2013 16:47 IST

Very Severe Cyclonic Storm Phailin affected Indian states of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and West Bengal as well as Thailand, Myanmar and Nepal on 12 October 2013.

On 10 October 2013, the Phailin was equivalent to a category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale (SSHWS). On 11 October 2013, it became equal to the category 5 hurricane on the SSHWS. Cyclonic Storm Phailin made its landfall near Gopalpur in Odisha coast and subsequently weakened. It was last noted on 14 October 2013.

Cyclonic Storm Phailin

Role of Union Government of India and the State Governments in Disaster Management

The Union Government of India along with the State Governments of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh took the precautionary measures in order to mitigate the disaster. The Armed Forces were put on high alert and the teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were deployed in order to carry out the rescue and relief operations. The Indian Air Force (IAF) deployed 24 aircraft, including Ilyushin-76, C-130J Super Hercules and the Antonv-32, along with 18 helicopters.

What are cyclones?

The cyclone is an area of closed, circular fluid motion which rotates in the same direction as the Earth. Its primary characteristic is inward spiraling winds which rotate in the anti-clockwise direction in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise direction in the Southern Hemisphere of the Earth.

How are tropical cyclones formed?

Cyclone Phailin was a tropical cyclone. The tropical cyclones form only on the warm ocean waters near the equator. For the formation of the cyclone, warm and moist air over the ocean rises in the upward direction from near the surface.

When the air moves in the upward direction and away from ocean surface, less air is left near the surface. Therefore, when the warm air rises upward, it leads to an area of lower air pressure below. The air from the surrounding areas which have higher air pressure pushes it into the low pressure area. The new cooler air from the surrounding areas that have higher air pressure, push into the low pressure area. The new cooler air eventually becomes warm, moist and then rises upwards, which continues the cyclone.


Tropical Cyclones Intensity Scale


Sustained Winds

Super Cyclonic Storm

>222 km/h

Very Severe Cyclonic Storm

118-221 km/h

Severe Cyclonic Storm

88-117 km/h

Cyclonic Storm

62-87 km/h

Deep Depression

52-61 km/h


<51 km/h

Cyclone Phailin, India's fiercest storm

Cyclone Phailin was the fiercest storm of India in 14 years. It hit the coastline of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha states and flooded farmland. Properties worth crores were damaged during the cyclone, but efficient disaster management, which is the first of its kind in India, gripped the death toll to just 23.

Cyclones and Environmental Issues

Impact of global warming- induced sea level rise due to thermal expansion is more pronounced in the Bay of Bengal due to the shallowness of the waters. The entire coastal ecosystem in general and the eastern coast in particular are highly vulnerable due to flat and low terrain, high population density, over exploitation of natural resources, high rate of environmental degradation on account of pollution and non-sustainable development.

Although cyclones affect the entire coast of India, the East Coast is more prone compared to the West Coast. There are 13 Coastal States and UTs in India, with about 84 coastal districts affected by tropical cyclones. Four States (Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal) and one UT (Puducherry) on the East Coast and one State (Gujarat) on the West Coast are the States that are more vulnerable to cyclone disasters.

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