The southern coastal areas are facing the 'black mud' weather phenomenon, which threatens lives, fisheries and tourism. Latest News India

On the afternoon of May 6, five doctors were swept away while bathing at Lemur Beach in Kanyakumari, on the southernmost tip of the country. The doctor from Tiruchi in central Tamil Nadu was on vacation in Kanyakumari when the tragedy occurred.

Rough sea near Vizhanjam beach in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. (Vivek Nair)

Although fishermen in the area heard the roar of the wave and rushed to help the 12-man team, they could only save seven. All the five bodies were recovered from deep water hours later.

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In another incident, Premadas, 42, of Puthukkadai near Kanyakumari, took his daughter Atisha (7) to Thengapatnam beach on the Kerala border on May 5. They were resting on the beach when a sudden wave swept them away. the sea. Local fishermen managed to rescue Prema Das but Atisha drowned. His body was found the next day.

They were caught unawares by a phenomenon known as 'clackdal' or sudden tidal waves in the form of large waves that form and break on the nearest shore.

The Kanyakumari district administration said at least eight people died on local beaches in the last five days due to the Kalakdal phenomenon.

The word Kalakdal means “a sea that comes suddenly like a thief.” The word is derived from combining two Malayalam words: “Clan“(which means thief) and”The hoe(which means sea).

Kalk Kadal caused massive damage.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) frequently issues warnings about this phenomenon that affects the coasts of South India.

The waves make it very difficult for people on the southern coasts of both Kerala and Tamil Nadu to earn a living. In fact, the beaches of Kanyakumari, Kovalam, Vijinjam, Sri y Kantam, and Tiruchirappalli are currently closed to tourists due to rough waves. Pilgrims are warned not to go into the sea as part of the ritual bath at Tiruchandra and Kanyakumari. The waves also affect the livelihood of fishermen in the area.

Rough waves make it impossible to reach the water directly and usually flood coastal areas, which are used to dry fishermen's nets. Many houses have been damaged in the affected coastal areas and many people have been forced to leave their homes out of fear.

The huge waves that breached the coastal road near Anchakadav and flooded the eastern side, severely damaged the Pothora-Anchothengu area around Thiruvananthapuram. Waves broke sea walls and damaged houses.

“Almost everywhere along the coasts of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, and Alappuzha districts, the waves are yet to recede. Houses in the area have been badly damaged as the shoreline has already eroded at several places due to the construction of ports. ports, and fish landing centres,” said Valerian Isaac, leader of the Kerala Swathanthra Mathisathuseli Union.

Rising tides also dumped a lot of sand on fishermen's houses on the coastal road between Pothora and Nchuthengo, temporarily slowing traffic. Panpara, Aratupuzha and Thirikonpuzha in Alappuzha district of Kerala were the worst affected. Many families have moved with relatives off the coast to avoid damage from the powerful waves.

Areas like Baikal, North Kasaragod, and Thrissur, Kodangallore in central Kerala have also been invaded by the sea.

Possible reason behind the trend

According to the IMD, strong winds in the South Indian Ocean are currently responsible for the strong winds that are spreading over the southern coasts. These winds blow quickly and without warning, hence the name.

During Kalakadal events, the sea rushes to land and floods large areas. Such incidents gained more attention after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami as many people mistook the Kalak Kadal for a tsunami.

“Tsunamis and tidal waves, or swell waves, are different types of waves caused by different things,” former chief KV Thomas said. are strong enough to cause more damage,” said KV Thomas. of the Marine Sciences Division of the National Center for Earth Science Studies.

“These storm surges come quickly and without any change in winds or coastal conditions, surprising the people who live there. Prolonged floods that begin in the Southern Ocean move northward and from three In five days the Indians hit the beaches, wreaking havoc on the area,” Thomas said.

The IMD has said that this trend may recur in coastal areas of Goa, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the coming days. The agency has already advised that “operational and recreational” activities on beaches, which are likely to be affected, be suspended.

Fishermen and people living near the coast are warned to be aware of possible rising tides, which may look like sea water in coastal/coastal areas, especially in low-lying areas.

T Balakrishnan Nair, Senior Scientist and Group Director, IMD, said that on April 26, the upwelling waves started in the South Atlantic about 10,000 km from the Indian coast.

“They slowly moved towards the southern Indian Ocean (~35–55E; 60–50S) around April 28 and continued to generate angry waves. This will continue till at least end of May,” he said. .

Nair said that when these long-term waves combine with high tides, they will increase the possibility of flooding in low-lying parts of coastal states.

Ajith Shanghumkham, who heads a fishermen's association in Thiruvananthapuram, said the situation hurts small-scale fish workers.

“Small fishing boats need to be anchored away from each other so that they do not collide and cause damage in the next few days. Often, this event destroys things along the coast,” Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) Member Secretary said.

“For example, fishermen lose their boats and fishing gear when flash floods occur on the coast. Waves as high as 11 meters stress southern beaches and are a cause for concern. From the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean Due to the low pressure moving in, these waves finally reached the southern Indian coast this week,” Koriakos said.

In the backdrop of these tidal surges, the Kerala Tourism Department temporarily closed seven floating bridges at coastal locations in the state.

“Black waves occur without any warning signs or local wind activity, which makes it difficult for people living along the coast… However, early warning systems, such as the swell surge forecast system run by the Indian National Center for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) had started.According to Thomas, 2020 could notify people seven days in advance.

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