sábado, 12 de octubre de 2013

Medio millón



Medio millón de evacuados. El número impresiona. Es la cantidad de gente que se está yendo de la región noreste de Andhra Pradesh y el estado de Orissa, en la India, afectados por el ingreso al territorio continental del Ciclón Phailin desde la Bahía de Bengala. (El diario español  El País habla ya de 650.000 evacuados). Unos pocos cientos de kilómetros al noreste del recorrido inferido para el ciclón de hoy, en el estado de Bengala Occidental, está Calcuta (por algún motivo no está marcada en el mapa, pero imagínensela unos 50 km al norte de Haldia, que sí aparece en este mapa). Quince millones de habitantes hacia 2009, según Wikipedia.

Ya hemos señalado en varios posts que es imposible ligar un evento particular, como es el caso de este ciclón, al proceso de calentamiento global actualmente en curso. El fenómeno, sin embargo, es estadístico: al aumentar las temperaturas promedio, aumentan las probabilidades de eventos de este tipo. El planeta se carga de energía. Alguien dijo, por ejemplo, que nunca, desde la última fase glacial, los océanos del mundo estaban tan cargados de energía (la energía es una función de la temperatura promedio, que aumenta). De las interacciones entre el mar y la atmósfera surgen buena parte de los fenómenos climáticos que ocurren en la superficie terrestre. Los ciclones y huracanes, por ejemplo.

Leemos en el sitio web de la BBC:

Título: Cyclone Phailin: Mass evacuations in eastern India

Texto: "As many as 500,000 people in India have been evacuated as a massive cyclone sweeps through the Bay of Bengal towards the east coast.


Cyclone Phailin, categorised as "very severe" by weather forecasters, is expected to hit Orissa and Andhra Pradesh states on Saturday evening.


The Meteorological Department has predicted the storm will bring winds of up to 220km/h (136mph).
A super-cyclone in 1999 killed more than 10,000 people in Orissa.


But officials say this time they are better prepared, the BBC's Sanjoy Majumder in Orissa reports. The Meteorological Department said Cyclone Phailin was due to make landfall late on Saturday evening, Indian time. The centre of the storm was expected to hit the coast around the town of Gopalpur.


Homes at risk


Officials said Cyclone Phailin would bring a storm surge of at least 3m (10ft) that was likely to cause "extensive damage" to mud houses on the coast.


"No-one will be allowed to stay in mud and thatched houses in the coastal areas,'' said Orissa's Disaster Management Minister Surya Narayan Patra.


The army is on standby in the two states for emergency and relief operations. Officials said helicopters and food packages were ready to be dropped in the storm-affected areas.


Meanwhile, the US Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Centre predicted that Phailin could produce gusts of up to 296km/h (184 mph), while the London-based Tropical Storm Risk classified Phailin as a Category Five storm - the most powerful.


Fishermen have been asked not to venture out to sea.


Heavy rain and winds have already struck Orissa, where authorities have set up storm shelters for evacuees. Janmejay Mohapatra, a resident of Orissa state capital Bhubaneswar, said it was too dangerous to go out now, as trees were down and debris was flying everywhere.


"Already the rain is very heavy and the wind is gusting at 100-120km an hour," he told the BBC. "The phone lines are down where I am and we have no electricity."


Minister Surya Narayan Patra said:"We are fighting against nature. We are better prepared this time, we learnt a lot from 1999."


India's eastern coast and Bangladesh are routinely hit by cyclonic storms between April and November which cause deaths and widespread damage to property.


In December 2011, Cyclone Thane hit the southern state of Tamil Nadu, killing dozens of people.”

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