ALAPPUZHA: Kerala is a safe zone as far as cyclones are concerned, according to the State Disaster Management Authority. Mr Sekhar L. Kuriakose, head of the State Emergency Operations Centre, told DC that the possibility of Kerala being hit by cyclones like Vardah that caused a trail of destruction in Tamil Nadu was remote. Mr Kuriakose, who is also the steering committee member of the multi-crore cyclone centre project initiated by the World Bank, said that the 18 multi-purpose cyclone shelters being constructed across the state will provide multiple facilities for coastal folks if an emergency arises. The works will be finished by 2020.
“Nearly one lakh people in coastal areas are displaced due to sea erosion in the state. The cyclone shelters will be equipped with modern facilities, communication systems and relief camps,” he said. According to the data submitted by the department of revenue and disaster management to the national cyclone risk mitigation project of the central government this year, only 18 coastal cyclones cases have occurred in the state between 1908 and 2000. The earliest instance was at Punnayur grama panchayat of Chavakkad block in Thrissur in 1908. The Chavakkad area was hit by cyclones on two more occasions, in December 1940 and May 1941.
Five instances of cyclones were reported from Thrissur during the last nine decades. The latest incidents were reported from Panmana panchayat at Chavara in Kollam and Chenkal panchayat at Parasala, near Thiruvananthapuram, in December 2000. The number of internally-displaced people by natural calamities in the coastal belt is high. In 2013, around 1.75 lakh people were shifted to makeshift relief camps across the state.