Agri Business

Cyclones affected more than 11 lakh ha of farm area in 2020

A J Vinayak Mangaluru | Updated on April 12, 2021

There were nine cyclonic disturbances over the North Indian Ocean and adjoining land regions during 2020


In 2020, four cyclones made a landfall in India. However, a single super cyclonic storm (SuCS) — Amphan — made maximum damage to the area under crops during the year.

The four cyclones affected around 11.5 lakh hectares of area under agriculture and horticulture in the country. Of this, nearly 50 per cent (5.82 lakh ha) of the area under crops were affected by Amphan during the year.

Data sourced from the answers in Parliament mentions around 5.71 lakh ha being affected by Amphan in West Bengal, followed by Odisha at 0.11 ha.


According to ‘Report on Cyclonic Disturbances of North Indian Ocean during 2020’ by the Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre (RSMC), there were nine cyclonic disturbances (CDs) — depressions and cyclones — over the North Indian Ocean (NIO) and adjoining land regions during 2020 against the long period average (LPA) of 12 disturbances per year based on data of 1961-2019.


Of the nine CDs, five intensified into tropical cyclones against the normal frequency of 4.5 cyclones per year over NIO (which covers Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea) based on LPA.

It included cyclonic storm (CS) Burevi, severe cyclonic storm (SCS) Nisarga, SuCS Amphan, and two very severe cyclonic storms (VSCS) – Gati and Nivar.

All the five cyclones over the NIO during 2020 were landfalling cyclones. Of this, Gati did not make landfall in India.

VSCS Nivar made an impact on around 3.35 lakh ha of crops in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry during the year.

Of this, around 3.17 lakh ha of area under crops was affected in Andhra Pradesh. It made an impact on 0.16 lakh ha in Tamil Nadu and a mere 0.02 lakh ha in Puducherry.


CS Burevi affected more than 2 lakh ha of area under crops in Tamil Nadu.

The least impact on the area under crops seems to have come from SCS Nisarga.

Answers in Parliament mentioned that Nisarga impacted 0.33 lakh ha of area under crops in Maharasthra.




Farmers in the cyclone-affected areas lost more than 36,000 cattle in 2020. Two-thirds (23,927) of cattle heads were lost due to Amphan in West Bengal, and 10,564 due to Nivar in Andhra Pradesh.

Fishermen in West Bengal witnessed maximum damage to their assets.

Amphan damaged 8,007 boats and 37,711 nets of fishermen in that State. Nisarga damaged 1,362 boats and 596 nets of fishermen in Maharashtra.

Four cyclones that affected the country led to the loss of 138 lives. Of them, West Bengal registered the highest casualties of 99 from Amphan. While SCS Nisarga claimed 15 lives in Maharashtra, VSCS Nivar claimed 11 in Andhra Pradesh.

Rescue operations

According to Parliament answers, 38 teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were deployed in West Bengal during Amphan to evacuate 8.13 lakh persons. In Odisha, 20 NDRF teams assisted the State in evacuating 2.37 lakh persons.

In the case of the Nisarga cyclone, 20 NDRF teams in Maharashtra, 16 teams in Gujarat and two teams in Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu assisted the State / UT administrations in relief and restoration work.

During the Nivar cyclone, 15 NDRF teams evacuated around 2.27 lakh people in Tamil Nadu, seven teams evacuated 40940 persons in Andhra Pradesh, and four teams evacuated 3397 persons in Puducherry.

Around 1.67 lakh persons and 32 livestock were evacuated by 17 NDRF teams in Tamil Nadu during cyclone Burevi. Eight NDRF teams and one team of the force were used to evacuate people in Kerala and Puducherry, respectively, during Burevi.

During 2020, NIO witnessed 31 days and 12 hours of cyclonic disturbance days as against the 1990-2020 average of 29 days and 20 hours.

Source: Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre, Data visualisation: A J Vinayak

Published on April 11, 2021

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