16 January, 2021

The Day Disaster Struck

The devastating tragedy raises familiar questions about India’s crisis management skills

The Day Disaster Struck

What can be done when the elements that sus -tain life—air and water—turn to destroy?—Dasarathi

WHEN Vijayawada-based industrialist M.V.V. Shankar made his regular 5 pm call to his PVC cable-making unit at Yanam, 200 km away, on November 6, he got the stock reply: "Everything under control, sir." So he didn’t suspect a thing when he read about the havoc wreaked by the cyclone in the next morning’s newspapers. It was only late that night—24 hours after a macabre dance of death and destruction had been enacted on the east coast—that an employee could reach a phone and tell his boss: "Sir, anni pade poyindi (it’s all gone)."

 The impact of Cyclone Kakinada 0.7b was sudden and devasting. One moment it was travelling a near-straight line and was to cross the coast in Krishna district, the target of the 1977 cyclone in which 20,000 died. Within hours, it was grazing past neighbouring East and West Godavari districts, hitting the heartland of Konaseema over Amalapuram...



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