Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government yesterday reviewed pre-monsoon cyclone preparedness in the state. A meeting was held under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary A.P Padhi at the State Secretariat to review the state of preparedness by the related departments and agencies to encounter the pre-monsoon cyclone, if any.
Director, India Meteorological Department (IMD), Bhubaneswar in his presentation said that there is a standard protocol for transmission of the cyclone warning and alert messages are transmitted to different government authorities, including district collectors and media.
Doppler Weather Radars are functioning at Paradip and Gopalpur, which will help for cyclone tracking and forecasting. These radars also help in forecasting tornado, thunderstorm and hail-storm.
The existing 35 Cyclone Warning Dissemination Systems (CWDS) have been upgraded to Digital Cyclone Warning Dissemination Systems (DCWDS) and 21 new DCWDS have been installed in coastal districts. As many as 177 Automatic Rain Gauge (ARG) Stations and 37 Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) have been installed by IMD all over the state.
The Chief Secretary observed that IMD should explore possibility of working out region-wise rainfall predictions since generalized predictions do not help much. Similarly, predictions for localized disasters like thunderstorm/ hailstorm/ lightning should be more location-specific instead of being for the entire district or a number of districts.
He further directed to pursue the matter with the Government of India and IMD, New Delhi for installation of Doppler Radars at Sambalpur and Balasore at the earliest.
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) authorities reported that BSNL has necessary arrangements in place to keep the telecommunication system operational in a cyclone situation.
The Chief Secretary advised to have necessary arrangement with local telecom service providers for sending alert/ warning messages through SMS to all cell phone consumers of the areas likely to be affected.
He also advised to make arrangements for dissemination of cyclone/ flood/ weather warning and related special bulletins by All India Radio, FM channels, all television and local cable channels.
The Special Relief Commissioner indicated the satellite phones provided to the Collectors, Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) units and key state-level officers are being test operated on regular intervals to ensure that the sets are in operational condition.
Toll free telephone numbers 1070 and 1077 in state and district Emergency Operation Centres (EOCs) respectively are functional.
Temporary police VHFs will be installed in remote/ inaccessible areas prone to floods before the onset of monsoon. The Police Communication Network will also be used in disaster situations, if required.
Besides, social media is used for disaster response related communications. There are 20 ODRAF units set up across the state, which are ready for deployment for rescue and relief operation during flood and cyclone.
There are 317 fire stations equipped with required search & rescue equipment and trained manpower to take up search & rescue. Besides, 11 teams, each consisting of 35 personnel, of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) 3rd Battalion at Mundali are ready for deployment.
Familiarization Exercises (FAMEX) are being conducted by NDRF, ODRAF and fire services in peacetime. As many as 300 power boats under State Port Engineering Organisation of Special Relief Commissioner are in readiness for use in case of flooding for relief management.
Mock drill on management of flood and cyclone will be held on June 19 in all districts. Such drill will also be conducted in all 879 multipurpose cyclone/ flood shelters in the state during which community volunteers will take part in disaster management drills.
ODRAF, fire services, NDRF, Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI) members and local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will participate in the mock drill.
The Health Department was advised to take necessary steps for shifting of the pregnant women in flood prone areas to MAA Gruha immediately on receipt of flood warnings.
It was decided to make a proper inventory of rescue and relief equipment available both in government and private sector and keep it handy for use in emergency situations.