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Odisha spearheads disaster preparedness with a Zero Casualty Approach

Odisha spearheads disaster preparedness  with a Zero Casualty Approach

Gopalpur, Odisha, Jun 6 (UNI) Prone to natural calamities and having experienced the effects of Phailin in 2013, the Odisha Government has revamped its cyclone response mechanism improvising periodically with new innovations in technology. Top officials of OSDMA (Odisha State Disaster Management Authority) told a team of visiting journalists that 10 more ODRAF (Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force) units were underway in the process of induction and soon the strength would be 20 units. The ODRAF recruits were chosen from the armed police as they had specific training and were physically fit for such operations, said Additional DG Law and Order Odisha police, Vinay Anand Jha. Laying emphasis on the Last Mile Connectivity in the coastal areas, Dr Kamal Lochan Mishra, Chief General Manager, OSDMA informed that the Early Warning Dissemination System (EWDS) towers would be functional by July. Dr Mishra said, 'The Government was in the process of installing 122 EWDS towers along the coastal villages as they will play a crucial role in warning the people living in the coastal areas, especially in the case of Tsunami and other dangers too. These towers mounted with high power sirens are effective in warning people within 2 to 3 km in their range.' Dr Mishra also said, “In case of a cyclone, the Met Department gives us the warning four-five days prior whereas in case of a Tsunami, we get the information 3 to 4 hours prior and so we needed an alarm system that can alert people .’’ Managing Director, OSDMA, Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra, told the mediapersons that Odisha was approached by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to impart training and share knowledge on cyclone preparedness with 14 island Nations of the Pacific that were regularly hit by cyclones. “We have already confirmed our willingness to impart training to these executives. However, the training module hasn’t been prepared as the dates haven’t been finalised,” said Mr Mohapatra. Over 10,000 people had lost their lives in the 1999 super cyclone, since then the Odisha Government has left no stone unturned in the field of disaster management. “We’ll be happy to share the lessons learnt from previous disasters, manpower skill and infrastructure development, and present management practices to help other states and nations,” Mr Mohapatra said, adding that OSDMA’s focus was "Mission Zero Casualty’’ for all disasters. Odisha has been training the local communities on how to deal with disasters through various cultural programmes and street plays, so the village inhabitants can best understand the procedure and message to be given to them. “We have trained village people as the first responders when it comes to an emergency situation in 23,000 villages,’’ Subhendra Kumar Nayak, GM, OSDMA said while reviewing the coastal villages and the multipurpose cyclone shelters. About 400 multipurpose cyclone and flood shelters have been constructed and 400 more shelter buildings are set to be built, the OSDMA official said. Odisha bears the brunt of natural disasters such as floods, cyclones and droughts almost every year. With a coastline of around 480 km, the coastal districts of the state are vulnerable to tropical Cyclones, Tsunami and Floods. Despite all odds, the people of the state live in tune with the environment. In view of all the disasters and the battering faced by the state in the past, the Government has come up with various policies and taken up management measures for the disasters. The State Government has framed the State Disaster Management Policy and adopted the Disaster Management Act,2005. According to the provisions of the Disaster Management Act 2005, State Disaster Management Plan (SDMP) has been prepared. Departmental Disaster Management Plans have been prepared by 24 key Departments of the Government for taking up disaster preparedness, response and recovery activities. Institutional mechanism concerning the disaster management including the State Executive Committee (SEC) has been constituted. A total of 177 Fire Service units of the state have been equipped with modern search & rescue equipment including inflatable rubber boats with Out Board Motors to act in emergency situations. Multi-hazard resistant Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) buildings have been constructed at 30 district headquarters and the state-level EOC has been set up in the Office of Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) at Rajiv Bhawan Bhubaneshwar. Around 135 Multipurpose Cyclone Shelters (MCS) have been constructed by OSDMA in six coastal districts, while 316 more MCS are being built under World Bank assisted National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project (NCRMP). UNI APS SV SNU 1334

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