Reported by Chinmaya Dehury/ Edited by Swetaparna Mohanty
Bhubaneswar, Oct 29:
Chief minister Naveen Patnaik today claimed human casualties could be minimized in the recent cyclone and subsequent floods in the state due to his government’s ‘extensive preparedness’.
Speaking at a function at Jayadev Bhawan here to mark the Odisha Disaster Preparedness Day, the chief minister drew a comparison between the recent twin calamities that struck the state and the super cyclone of 1999 that had claimed about 10,000 lives.
“Our preparedness for cyclone Phailin was fail proof. Successful evacuation of about ten lakh people before the cyclone helped us to save many human lives,” Extensive planning, preparedness and continuous efforts for capacity building in the last 14 years had made it possible, he added.
In the aftermath of the super cyclone, Odisha State Disaster Mitigation Authority (OSDMA) was created and the government concentrated on both structural and non-structural interventions to build capacities to face disasters, said Patnaik.
He said the state has constructed 247 multipurpose cyclone and flood shelters in remote areas and 163 more shelter buildings were under construction out of National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project and Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project under World Bank assistance. Besides, 38 multipurpose flood shelters were also being constructed out of the CMRF, he added.
The chief minister said all completed shelter buildings were used during cyclone Phailin to accommodate evacuated people.
He attributed the effective performance of the ten units of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) and fire services wing during the recent calamities to their strengthening with modern machinery and training over the years.
Emphasizing on the proactive role that youth can play in the society, the chief minister said plans were on the anvil to integrate youth power for disaster management.
“Ten thousand student volunteers from 100 colleges will be given basic training on disaster management skills by OSDMA” announced Patnaik.
The chief minister thanked all volunteers, ODRAF, NDRF, officials and Armed Forces for their commendable role in the relief and rescue operations. He also thanked UN agencies, NGOs Indian Red Cross Society, Cyclone Shelter Management and Maintenance Committees, PRI and community members for their cooperation and management of disasters in the state.