After Aila, Phyan, Laila and Phet, the next cyclone to form over the Indian Ocean will be called Giri (meaning, mountain). One has always wondered how these cyclones got their names and who selected them. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) says the practice of naming storms (tropical cyclones) was adopted years ago to help identify them so that people could be informed about their arrival quickly.
This decision, to give names to the cyclones that form over the North Indian Ocean region, was taken unanimously by eight countries — Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand — in the year 2000.
A meeting of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) was held for the purpose. WMO and ESCAP together have laid out the procedure by which cyclones are named. Groups of countries in other cyclone-prone areas also have a similar convention for naming cyclones.
Each country gave eight names for the cyclones. Thus a list of 64 names was prepared. It was also decided that the 8 countries will take turns to name the cyclones. An IMD release in this regard reads: “The practice of naming storms was adopted because it was proved that short names are easier to remember than numbers and other technical terms.”
“Many have agreed that according names to cyclones makes it easy for the media to effectively report about their occurrence, heightens public interest in warnings and increases preparedness,” the release says. While the names of cyclone Nargis and Laila were suggested by Pakistan, the name Aila (meaning, fire) was suggested by the Maldives.
Cyclone Laila, which had struck Tamil Nadu in India, caused considerable damage in the state. The cyclone that followed Laila was called Bandu The name, Bandu, was given by