After drawing a profusion of accolades in dealing with cyclonic storms of rare severity, the Odisha government is preparing its 328 vulnerable villages to face the other natural disaster- tsunamis.
Two villages- Baxipali in Ganjam and Gadaharishpur of Jagatsinghpur district are set to earn the ‘tsunami ready’ tag. Both villages have qualified all the 11 parameters and are slated to get the UNICEF certificate soon.
“These two villages would be the first tsunami ready villages among 56 nations in the Indian Ocean region”, said P K Jena, additional chief secretary, rural development and managing director at Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA).
The state government is building capacities in all the 328 tsunami prone villages.
Odisha’s coastline has been ravaged by colossal cyclonic storms that have pounded its coast. The super cyclone of 1999 left behind a trail of devastation. The scale of damage spurred the state authorities to brace better to confront severe to very severe cyclonic storms with fortitude. In recent memory, Phailin barrelled in Odisha’s southern coast near Gopalpur in October 2013, plunging numerous villages into darkness for weeks. However, the state set a precedent with successful evacuation of people living in susceptible villages, relocating them to safer shelters. The state government demonstrated better preparedness during May 2019 when Fani, another cyclonic storm of colossal proportion struck the coast near Puri. Around 1.2 million people were shifted to safer shelters before the cyclone could make landfall. During Fani, the state authorities were better equipped to tackle cyclones of immense severity, powered by L&T’s Early Warning & Dissemination System. The system converged many critical components, aiding the movement of people from cyclone prone villages to multipurpose cyclone shelters.
Ruling out any laxity in disaster preparedness, the state government has completed physical audit of multipurpose cyclone and flood shelters in all 25 districts. As of now, 879 shelters are in operation- 503 multipurpose cyclone shelters (MCS), 311 multipurpose flood shelters and 65 MCS installed by Indian Red Cross Society. Repair work on some of the shelters is scheduled to be completed before June this year. At all these shelters, it has been decided to install lightning arrester system.
For the purpose of capacity building, the state government has initiated training activities at the Gopabandhu Academy of Administration, Bhubaneswar. Training will be imparted at the academy till the State Institute of Disaster Management (SIDM, now under construction, comes up at Gothpatna on -Bhubaneswar’s outskirts. SIDM is envisioned as a state-of-the-art institution with world class infrastructure, training modules and facilities. The construction of this centre is targeted to be completed by March 2021.