Declaring “Cyclone Amphan” A National Calamity
This Blog is written by Ishika Khurana from Vivekanand Institute of Professional Studies, IP University. Edited by Saumya Tripathi.
The super Cyclone Amphan tore through eastern India and Bangladesh on 17 may 2020 appeared. This is a deadly and powerful tropical cyclone which has caused widespread damages to life and property in East India and Bangladesh. It is the strongest and first super cyclonic storm to occur in the Bay of Bengal since the 1999 Odisha cyclone.
“Cyclone” is a circulation of strong winds in a low pressure area in an anti –clockwise direction in the northern hemisphere and in the clockwise direction in the southern hemisphere. A cyclone can cause huge losses of life and property in the area it hits and may disrupt the peace all over the country.
Thousands of kutcha houses in the coastal parts of West Bengal were damaged. . The cyclone produced strong winds of 112 km/h and gusts to 190 km/h in West Bengal. Heavy rainfall was reported across the districts of the Odisha South Bengal. Electricity supply was also destructed in certain coastal areas because the electrical poles got uprooted by the strong winds of cyclone. Indian official said that up to 300 thousand people in coastal areas are in the imminent danger from the deadly storm flooding. Many people have lost their livelihood.
This cyclone originated from a very low pressure area in the east of the Colombo, Sri Lanka on 13 May 2020. On 17 may Amphan underwent a rapid intensification. It became an extremely severe and strongest cyclonic storm within 12 hours. On 20 May, this cyclone has made a landfall in West Bengal.
When cyclonic alert has been issued, all the works along the coast of Bay of Bengal got stopped. Bangladeshi port suspended the loading on loading of goods on board ships. Department concerned with the work related to the public welfare were called upon by the government of Orissa. Also the backup system for electricity and telecommunication were deployed to meet the emergency need.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS DEVELOPMENT
SN Pradhan, NDRF(National Disaster Response Force) chief said that Amphan has been converted to a super cyclone and this is a very significant development. In Oct 1999, super cyclone has recorded in Orrisa and this is the second time once again a super cyclone hits Bay of Bengal. It is likely to make landfall near Sundarbans. Also, the areas which may get affected are populated. Flora and fauna may also get damaged. He said that Indian government is taking preventive measures in order to limit the loss of life and property. Teams are being made for the purposes of spreading awareness among people, sensitization drive, etc. For meeting the emergency situation which may arise at any time, teams are being made for that too.
According to the studies and researchers, this temperature arise is due to the reduce in pollution and decrease in the emission of harmful chemicals from industry like carbon which keep heat away from the surface of the Earth in amidst of corona virus pandemic.
DECLARING CYCLONE AMPHAN A NATIONAL CALAMITY AND ITS IMPACT
Leaders of 22 opposition parties met through video conferencing and passed a resolution stating that they all extend their support to the government of West Bengal and Orissa in dealing with this cyclone Amphan. This meeting was called by the Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and attended by the leaders of the Trianamool Congress, Nationalist Congress party, Dravida Munnetra kazhagam and left parties. They urged the Central government on 22 may 2020 to declare the cyclone Amphan in Odisha and West Bengal as a national calamity and help the state in facing the devastating impacts of the disaster. They said that rehabilitation and relief should be the top most priority at this time. During the meetings the leaders also give their condolences to the families who lost their loved ones due to the cyclone.
As the country is suffering from the corona virus pandemic therefore the unity in the actions of the government is needed.
Also, after declaring the cyclone Amphan a National Calamity it will urge each and every state government and its people to realise the severeness of this cyclone and to contribute on their part. They can contribute in the PMs Relief fund which will help the government of Odisha and West Bengal in financial terms, etc. It would then become a responsibility of Central government of India to tackle the cyclone with the state government. The central government then puts its resources like NDRF teams, arrangements will be made for providing food to all. It can also appeal the international organisation like UN, UNICEF, WHO to extend their support. Also, the Central Government has the power to extend the loan from IMF, World Bank, UNDP, etc for the development and reconstruction facilities.
STATUES AND CASE LAWS
No particular definition has been provided in the Disaster Management Act 2005 for the word “National Calamity” though certain Natural Calamities are often called National calamities by the media based on the magnitude of its impact and the damage it caused to the life and property.
As per the Disaster Management Act 2005 and 14 financial commission recommendation any notified calamity which is of a severe nature will qualify for assistance from National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF). Further, no specific criteria is defined for the National Disaster Response Fund though on the basis of the intensity and magnitude of the losses of life, property and infrastructure caused by the calamity or when a calamity become unprecedented and extremely difficult to handle through a normal rescue and relief operation the Central government can treats it as a calamity of severe nature.
In State of Madras vs. V.G.Row, proper implementation of Disasters Management Act has been enforced. This case is also focused on the importance of protection of human rights and rule of law. In N.D. Jayal and another vs. UOI and others, 2003, court held that Disaster Management means to take certain steps in order to prevent damage to life and property of people by planning and implementing measures. Management means to take measures to minimize and control the effects any disaster. In Gaurav Kumar Bansal vs. UOI and others, 2019, the court encouraged the National Disaster Management Authority to be more effective in its working.
On 22 May, Prime Minister Narendra Modi conducted an aerial survey over Kolkata along with the chief Minister Mamta Banerjee. Modi announced a 10 billion immediate relief package for West Bengal and 5 billion in relief for Odisha. This will help to take immediate measures to minimize the impact of the cyclone Amphan.
Also Modi has announced that 200,000 would be provided to the next of the skin of people who died during the storm and 50,000 would be given to each injured person.
Twenty Disaster relief teams were sent to West Bengal to provide support in recovery. Also, approximately 1,000 ground teams engaged in restoring infrastructure loss due to the cyclone.
ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSION
The cyclone Amphan has already caused a great deal of damages in the eastern India in terms of life and property. Many people have lost their houses, their family members, their belongings, etc. The country is already in the danger of Corona Virus pandemic and then this huge Natural Calamity as in the form of cyclone is causing a great discomfort to all. At this urgency, both central and state government should work together in order win this battle of life. There is a need of financial aid from the central government. Also, relief and rescues forces are required in order to save people immediately. Rehabilitation facilities need to be given to the affected people. After being declared as a national calamity, this cyclone will be made a priority as among others and necessary steps will then be taken. Proper arrangements should be made for providing the food and shelter to all the affected people who has lost their homes and belongings. There is a need of a long term relief measures for the people who get displaced so that they will be able to rebuild their lives again with dignity. COVID-19 has multiplied the vulnerability of people and social distancing at this time is become impossible. The shelters homes tend to be small and there maybe lack of sanitation facilities and this will increase the risk of spreading of any infection among the people. Government need to take care that all the lives should be saved and less damage to the property should be caused. Infrastructure is also getting damaged a lot and a plan is required to reconstruct all that get damaged after this cyclone end.
People all over the India have come forward to help in controlling the damages caused by the cyclone in number of ways. Some people are making donations in terms of money at various platforms, rescue forces are doing their best level to save people. Flora and fauna is also getting damaged. In order to help people in reconstructing their lives after the cyclone get over the government at both the levels, central and state, should think of some schemes or programmes of income generation, etc. Arrangements should be made to provide basic necessities to people such as food, education, shelter, etc. We must all remember that this time shall also pass and have complete faith that everything will soon get better.
 United Nations Organization.
 United Nations Children’s Fund.
 World Health Organization.
 International Monetary Fund.
 United Nations Development Programme.
 Act no. 53 of 2005.
 AIR 1952 SCR 597.
 W/P (C) 295 of 1992.
 W/P (C) of 2013.