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Odisha emerges a role model in disaster preparedness in the wake of Cyclone Fani.

Topic- General Studies Paper-3;
Disaster and disaster management

  • In preparation for Cyclone Fani, which made landfall on Friday in the town of Puri, Odisha carried out ‘one of the biggest human evacuations in history,with more than a million people evacuated into 9,000 shelters in 24 hours.
  • Cyclone Fani made landfall in Puri with wind speed of more than 200 km per hour and gusting speed of 240 km per hour, damaged critical infrastructure, especially power, telecom, and water supply
  • This has revived memories of the Super Cyclone that struck Odisha in 1999. Back then, the cyclone had killed around 10,000 people and inflicted massive material damage. However, much has changed in Odisha’s cyclone preparedness since then.The state government and other agencies constructed many cyclone shelters and instituted a disaster risk reduction system that included preparedness activities by families, communities, government bodies and NGOs. These efforts drastically minimised the damage wrought by cyclone Phailin in 2013 – something that was even recognised by the UN.
  • Odisha’s efforts to evacuate and shelter millions of people to safety has won international praise. Appreciating India’s disaster management response over Cyclone Fani, the United Nations’ agency for disaster reduction has commended Meteorological Department’s early warnings that helped authorities conduct a well coordinated evacuation plan and minimise the loss of life
  • The strongest cyclone, classified under ‘extremely sever cyclonic storm’ to hit the subcontinent in the past two decades, Fani has battered large areas of Odisha coast, affecting the lives of over 11 lakh people
  • The head of the Geneva-based UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), said, “India’s zero casualty approach to managing extreme weather events is a major contribution to the implementation of the #SendaiFramework and the reduction of loss of life from such events,”
    The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, recognises that the state has the primary role to reduce disaster risk but that responsibility should be shared with other stakeholders including the local government, and the private sector.
  • Improved Warning System And Better Centre-State Coordination Limited The Number Of Casualties.
  • IMD’s new regional hurricane model, part of India’s ‘zero casualty’ focus on cyclones, managed to get a very high accurate tracking and forecasting of the landfall, averting a heavier toll. The 1999 cyclone took a heavy toll of over 10,000 people and devastated thousands of homes in the countryside region of the state.
  • More than 45,000 volunteers, 2,000 emergency workers, 100,000 officials, youth clubs, and other civil society organisations such as National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI) agencies, teamed up to work around the clock to evacuate 1.2 million people.
  • The preparation included sending 3 million targeted messages and setting up around 7,000 kitchens and 9,000 shelters.
  • The resilience of the people of Odisha and extensive preparations for evacuating millions has further cemented the state’s capabilities in disaster preparedness.

With extreme weather phenomena increasing due to climate change, there’s a need to constantly expand disaster management capacities. In fact, disaster management should become a critical component of all development projects. 

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