NCERT TEXTBOOK QUESTIONS SOLVED
I. Read the newspaper article given below :
29 October 1999
Hundreds feared killed as cyclone devastates Orissa coast
Several hundred people were feared killed as the super cyclone with a velocity of more than 260 kmph battered 10 coastal districts of Orissa for more than eight hours today. The state government called in the army and the air force to help carry out relief and rescue operations. “You cannot imagine the devastation. More than 200,000 houses have been destroyed and vast tracts in the coastal areas submerged,” Chief Minister Giridhar Gamang told the United News of India on telephone. He also spoke to Defence Minister George Fernandes to send in troops, air force helicopters and transport aircraft. All the 10 affected districts remained cut off from the rest of the country with power supply and telecommunication links cut off. According to initial reports, heavy damage has been reported in the affected areas. Road links in certain areas have been cut off. The cyclone hit Paradip port this morning at a speed of 260kph. The diameter of the cyclone was very big and all nine coastal districts of Orissa were affected badly. The storm of rare intensity left petrified residents fearing for their lives in the capital and the thickly populated areas along the coast. Massive loss of life and property was feared, but a clear picture will emerge only after the storm abates. The hardiest of trees fell to the ferocity of the gales, which swept away much of what came in their way. Torrential rains continued to lash the capital city, which is about 65 km from the Puri coast. The flat terrain along the coast allowed the strong tidal waves to reach far inland without obstruction. The cyclone stormed Bhubaneswar at around 0830 IST. The gale speed had touched a howling 260 kmph by 1500 IST. Telephone and electricity poles snapped like matchsticks, leaving the telecommunication network in shambles. Power breakdowns plagued the affected areas with little prospects of early restoration of supply. The air traffic control tower in Bhubaneswar reportedly suffered damage, leaving little scope for early resumption of air traffic. Fallen trees blocked the roads and the highway between Cuttack and Bhubaneswar. The army moved in to provide immediate relief. Two signal attachments were flown in with INMARSAT terminals to re-establish telecommunication links. Electrical and mechanical engineers of the army are already trying to restore power supply.
Huts and other fragile structures collapsed, forcing the inmates to seek shelter in temples and schools. Tidal waves rose two-storey high, breaking embankments at Talachua in Paradip and Erasama. Large parts were inundated in the coastal areas. But details were not immediately available. Ships had been taken off the harbour. Several buildings, including the state secretariat complex, were damaged. Eyewitnesses said no tall tree was standing in the entire city anymore. Old-timers said they had never seen such devastation. The building housing the UNI offices in the heart of the city was among the structures damaged. It forced the agency to shut down its computerised news operations. The only means of communication available was the telephone line, which also threatened to go off anytime.
Full details of the havoc wrought by the cyclone are yet to come in, but it was feared to have left a ghastly trail, especially in the coastal areas. Meanwhile, the railways cancelled 14 passenger and mail trains scheduled to run in the cyclone-affected areas.
Q.1. Imagine that you were in Bhubaneswar when the storm struck…. Write down what you experienced and saw around you in a page. Share your experiences with your classmates.
Ans. I was in Bhubaneswar. It was great disastrous situation when the storm broke. The wind was blowing so fast that the whole world seemed to be flying. Everyone was confused. I was stuck in a house. After four hours of the storm, the wind calmed down. Rescue teams had reached. As I was a trained NCC cadet, I also joined the rescue team. I helped people who were victimised. I brought them to a relief camp. I arranged food and water. I organised my own rescue team with the help of the local boys. We informed the other NGOs and government agencies. I stayed there for fifteen days. It was an unforgettable experience for me.
Q.2. In your view, what preventive actions could Orissa have taken to reduce the damage caused when the Super Cyclone struck?
Ans. Before any cyclone strikes, if an alert is issued, it can help in minimising the damage. If people know beforehand about the impending danger, they can take measures to evacuate themselves in time. The government should have disaster management teams ready for such situations. The meteorological department has the responsibility to sound the warning. After the warning, disaster management teams should get into action and contribute in taking people to safe places. Although we can not prevent cyclones, these measures can help us in reducing the damage.