Guwahati: Fani (pronounced as ‘Foni’), the tropical cyclone, has turned out to be a household name — albeit for all the wrong reasons — because of its nature and the devastation that it has left behind in the eastern parts of the country.
As the name of the cyclone is gradually gaining momentum among the masses, a common question is on everyone’s mind — why has it been called ‘Fani’?
The name ‘Fani’ was given in Bangladesh. In the Bengali language, also known by its endonym Bangla, ‘Fani’ means hood of the snake.
Usually, countries like India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan and Thailand send their names of tropical cyclones developing in the North Indian Ocean to the regional committee. At present, each country has suggested eight names for cyclones occurring in the future. The name ‘Fani’ was decided from a list containing 64 names.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), in the past 126 years (1891-2017), only 14 severe tropical cyclones have formed in April over the Bay of Bengal. Out of those, only one storm crossed the Indian mainland. Cyclone Fani will be the second storm to form in April and cross the mainland. The last severe cyclone ‘Nargis’ in 2008 devastated Myanmar.
Cyclones are not new to Odisha. The worst one, a super cyclone, had hit the state in 1999, killing more than 15,000 people, with most of the casualty being reported from from the state. Cyclone Fani will be the fourth storm to hit the country’s east coast in the last three decades.
The cyclone originated from a tropical depression which formed near west of Sumatra in the Indian Ocean on April 26, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre (JTWC).