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Naming of Cyclones

Gautam Kumar Das

The afternoon is tending to rest or in equilibrium, being at a standstill, overcast with cloud. It is the repeatation of the event that happened five years back. That event perhaps might repeat itself at the end of this month of Aaswin. Remembering all events of that day and after while crossing the lawn, Jaba comes near the calf tied with the tree beside the dyke in front of her house where the little calf tries to pick up grasses to eat. At that moment, sounds from a distance of loud speaker comes to her ears. Minutely hearing the tone and style of announcement, Jaba ultimately identifies the announcer; he is certainly Sudam, the elected Gram Panchayet member of Jharkhali. Sudam continues announcement carrying battery on the carrier, amplifier on the seat and a large horn strongly tied with the handle of the bi-cycle; only cordless microphone caught in his grip of right hand. Sudam repeats shouting – ‘Nobody will go for fishing in the river or sea today, tomorrow or day after tomorrow; Hudhud is coming; it’s a sea storm; we need have to be careful immediately; those who live in the houses of earthen wall thatched with straw have to move towards flood centre accompanied by all members of the entire family along with domestic animals before evening; the Gram Panchayet alerts you much before the storm would blow upon you all and over the area.

When Sudam comes nearer Jaba, at the interval of announcement, she asks him whether Gram Panchayet accomplishes her appeal or not. In reply, Sudam tells her that the name of Sreemati Jaba Mondal has not yet been registered in the list of the widows due to lack of proper evidence like death certificate of her husband etc. Unregistered name of a widow means unavailability of allowances for widow from the government. Hearing these words from Sudam Bhunia, Jaba proudly looks at her bangles made of shell which are stained brown for her daily cow-dung cake (ghunte) processing from cow-dung; she affirms herself with an inner pride that she is still Sreemati Jaba Mondal. Simultaneously Jaba thought of that violent storm namely Aila thrashed their village, and then their earthen house started tumbling. There was no weather forecast regarding commencement of the storm in the afternoon. Nimai, her husband went down to the river for fishing with his own dingi (indigenous small fishing boat) in the early morning. Storm started blowing in the noon and continued up to mid night. After that night was dead silent; it was an eerie night.

As a consequence of strong winds and damage of river embankment, the entire area was inundated with saline river water. People of both government and non-government organization visited daily and distributed relief among storm-strike people. Those people asked about the degree of violence of the super cyclone Aila and so many questions including information about her husband (Nimai) and exchanged different question-answers in the form of opinions. Beautiful jeans-worn middle-aged ladies paid heed to her words and copied important points in their note book; they snapped photographs of Jaba, the surroundings of her home and the nearby saline water filled agricultural field area.

Five years passed after that violent storms Aila but the situation were still as before as time passed swiftly. Jharu, son of Jaba, now aged six, used to take mid-day meal daily being a student of a free primary school; her cow namely ‘kutini’ brings forth calves four times; a coconut tree grows in the lawn and is covered with clusters of green coconuts; but Nimai, her husband does not come back his home to accompany Jaba sand Jharu till date.

For this time being, in view, Jaba’s son little Jharu tests touching inside-outside of the horn of the amplifier tied with the handle of the bi-cycle. He asks then in his tender voice, ‘Kaka (uncle), what is Hudhud?’ Sudam (kaka) assures little Jharu and says, ‘Tomorrow I will come and make you understand all about Hudhud or other rest of the names of cyclones.’ Next day the storm Hudhud flops, as it vanishes within the periphery of the focus of origin in the Bay of Bengal after gradually lowering its intensity and propagation. Sudam (kaka), as promised, comes to Jaba’s house in the morning and sits on the mat at the portico of her small earthen hut thatched with straw. After taking a glass of sarbat (formal indigenous drinks of water mixing of a spoonful sugar with lemon juice), Sudam starts saying – Hudhud is the name of a cyclone send by any one of the countries stood around the north Indian Ocean. Eight countries adjacent to north Indian Ocean send eight names as required from the end of World Meteorological Department (WMO) and they prepared a list of cyclones. When cyclone is about to origin and start propagation, name has been taken from this list consecutively. Once a name has been used, in no way it would be repeated further for naming another cyclone.

Thus a definite name of a cyclone tells us all about its origin, propagation and consequences like loss of wealth, human lives and domestic animals including all other after-event facts like rescue operation and remedial measures etc. Sudam then turns out a print out from the pocket of his shirt and as usual translate into Bengali to Jharu and his mother Jaba and recalls about a few cyclones mentioned in the list from his memory. After that Sudam tells a history in brief beyond such naming of cyclones. A super cyclone in 1999 devastated in the state of Orissa along Paradwip – Chandrabhaga – Gopalpur on sea coastal area causes large-scale destruction. The WMO (World Meteorological Department) then took decision for naming conventions of the cyclones and WMO directed eight south Asian member countries adjacent to north Indian Ocean to send a list of eight names for each country for the preparation of the list of tropical cyclones in 2004. From then any cyclone about to form and move towards land around north Indian Ocean is to be named from the common list of the member countries of the north Indian Ocean. The common list of cyclones prepared by WMO on the basis of the list of eight names submitted by the eight member countries adjacent to the North Indian Ocean is as following –

 

Countries

Names

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

Bangladesh

Onil

Ogni

Nisha

Giri

Helen

Chapala

Ockhi

Fani

India

Agni

Akash

Bijli

Jal

Lehar

Megh

Sagar

Vayu

Maldives

Hibaru

Gonu

Aila

Kelia

Madi

Roanu

Makunu

Hikaa

Myanmar

Pyarr

Yemyin

Phyan

Thane

Na-Nauk

Kyant

Daye

Kyarb

Oman

Baaz

Sidr

Ward

Murjan

Hudhud

Nada

Luban

Maha

Pakistan

Fanoos

Nargis

Laila

Nilam

Nilofar

Vardah

Titli

Bulbul

Srilanka

Mala

Rashmi

Bandu

Mahasen

Priya

Asiri

Gigum

Soba

Thailand

Mukda

Khai-muk

Phet

Phailin

Komen

Mora

Phethai

Amphan

(Source: WMO)

Aug 2, 2018


Gautam Kumar Das [email protected]

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