Cyclone Biparjoy slams into Gujarat; tornado of fake videos hits social media

As the massive Cyclone Biparjoy slammed into Gujarat late last night, the landfall — a phenomenon when the eye of the cyclone moves over the land — inspired a tornado of fake videos on social media.

Image of a tornado in some other country, most likely the United States, which is famous for these giant twisters, passed off as Cyclone Biparjoy in Gujarat. Photo: Twitter

The authentic destruction caused by the cyclone was terrible enough, but netizens spiced things up by showing tornados moving over land in a country that was clearly not India.

Also read: Cyclone Biparjoy: 74,000 evacuated in Gujarat, sea waves swallow a bridge, landfall just hours away

Other videos showed the sideways rain that is typical of a cyclone; the rain does not fall vertically but appears to move parallel to the ground, like a flying river, because of a cyclone’s ferocious wind speed.

Even in the rain videos, there were so many fakes that one needed a keen eye to spot the markers of India, such as sari and cattle on the road, to figure out exactly what one was looking at.

Gujarat moves 90,000 people to safety

As the real Cyclone Biparjoy hit the state, a well-prepared state of Gujarat managed to take more than 90,000 people to safety, keeping human casualties minimal — two people were reported dead — although a number of animals perished. The Border Security Force (BSF), along with other paramilitary and civil defence organisations, were at hand to move people and settle them in temporary camps.

As expected, the force of the cyclonic wind uprooted trees and electricity poles, causing widespread power outages. However, after landfall, a cyclone usually begins to weaken and so will Biparjoy; soon, it will settle into a depression and continue causing rainfall. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has remained in touch with his home state, and he called up Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel to get a briefing. A meeting was held at the State Emergency Operations Centre in Gandhinagar, where Patel told officials to give the storm-affected people “cash doles, household goods, hut assistance, and animal assistance”.