Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 29:
Though 17 years have elapsed since the devastating Super Cyclone, Odisha has learnt lessons the hard way to deal with natural calamities. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today remembered the loss of lives in 1999 Super Cyclone on the occasion of Disaster Preparedness Day and National Day for Disaster Reduction.
Speaking during a programme held here, Patnaik highlighted state government’s efforts towards proactive, community-based and tech-backed disaster management strategy to protect lives, livelihoods, and assets of people in the state.
“Odisha Disaster Management Authority has been created to improve disaster preparedness and response standards through the creation of disaster-resistant infrastructure,” he said.
Post the destructive cyclone that killed thousands of people, the state government has upped its disaster preparedness.
“Construction of 879 cyclone/flood shelter buildings and about 17,000 houses for Phailin affected people of Ganjam and Khurda has been undertaken.The state government has constructed 571 houses at Bagpatia rehabilitation site for sea erosion affected people of Satabhaya in Kendrapara district and 243 shelter connectivity roads covering 390 km and 12 saline embankments covering 58 km,” he added.
Patnaik thanked volunteers, ODRAF, NDRF, Fire Service, Armed Forces, and all officials engaged in relief and rescue operations. He also thanked Cyclone Shelter Management and Maintenance Committees, PRI and Community members, NGOs, Indian Red Cross Society and UN Agencies for their cooperation and service in managing disasters in the state.
It may be mentioned here that the official toll then was 9, 885, whereas the unofficial figures were above 50, 000. Jagatsinghpur district was the worst affected as the storm had its landfall between Ersama and Balikuda. Of the total fatality, Jagatsinghpur district alone had accounted for 8,119 people.
According to reports, at least 13 million people, including 3.3 million children, 5 million women and nearly 3.5 million elderly people were affected.