The Ockhi Cyclone that stared in the extreme south-west had finally hit Goa with causing complete devastation to the coastal belt of Goa, right from the South to North Goa. Although the losses have not yet been evaluated but, with more than 100 shacks getting razed off. The sources have revealed that the full moon has made the cyclone more severe. The district collectors of both North and South Goa have rushed to the state government with recommendations to declare it as a state disaster. Let’s take a look at the damages it has actually made to Goa…

Goa is known to have always remained safe from all type of natural calamities but this time it had a unexpected hit from the Ockhi Cyclone which resulted into washing off around 100 shacks in North and South Goa. The shack people left devastated following an unexpected hit from the cyclone. Why does it happen is worthless asking but if you ask who is responsible for this, then we would say that, we ourselves are. Unnecessary encroachment is mainly responsible for this. The shack owners have invaded the beaches beyond its scope.

The government agencies who handle the climate updates is another entity who is also partially responsible for this devastation, as they were unable to raise an alert of a cyclone to the Coastal belts. The reports published in The Times of India said that “The occurrence of a deep depression associated with cyclonic storm Ockhi in the Arabian Sea and a full moon simultaneously, dealt a disaster with a double impact leaving Goa’s beach tourism infrastructure in shambles.”

Although the reports claimed that around 100 shacks had been washed off in the calamity but the number is expected to go up and the losses are piling up due to the incursion of the sea. “The powerful swell caused by the storm travelling from the region of deep depression to the shore and the higher range of tide during the full moon combined to push the water towards the shore and cause havoc,” Anthony Joseph, retired chief scientist of the national institute of Oceanography (NIO), Dona Paula, said. Ockhi was triggered by a depression and worsened into a deep depression. “When that happens, the waves and swells are formed, but only swells – the long period waves – travel long distances. The deep depression this time is much stronger than in past and the swell was also stronger than before,” Joseph said.

Another report claimed that the shack owners are upset on the authorities, as no warnings were given to them about the cyclone. Around 60 shacks got damaged in north Goa alone, said the sources. “At this stage, we are counting the number of shacks which continue to be under threat of increased water levels. For now, we have collated data from owners of 80 percent of the shacks. We are worried for tonight too as there are reports coming in from the north as well as south Goa that the water level is rising again,” said Cruz Cardoso, president of the association. “We will be meeting the government and asking them to help us.”   

Meanwhile, the collectors of the north and south Goa have been deployed by the government to assess the losses. “We are in the process of doing a detailed assessment of the financial losses suffered by the 50 shacks at Morjim, Mandrem, Arambol and Keri beaches and soil erosion at Anjuna and Baga beaches. Damages to the retaining wall at Coco beach at Nerul has also been reported,” said the North Goa collector Nila Mohanan. The sources from south Goa claims the losses of more than Rs. 30 lacks with around 32 shacks have been affected by the Ockhi cyclone. “There is no reported damage to shacks in Mormugao taluka but retaining wall at Hollant is damaged. Also, almost 60m of the floating jetty at Baina Beach has been washed away. It has been recommended to the government that it may be declared as a state disaster,” South Goa collector Anjali Sehrawat reported.

The overall situation is such that the shack owners are now blaming the tourism department for the losses. “The tourism department issues permissions to us, but has shown hardly any concern for us. If the warnings were accompanied by details of the high tide and quick response team was put in place, it would have helped us,” said John Lobo, general secretary, shack operators’ welfare society (SOWS).

Due to the cyclone not alone the shacks had to face the havoc of nature but, it also amounted to losing the business till everything comes back into the shape once again. This year it looks like the tourism industry may have the worst hit from various calamities. What is your opinion on this?


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