Century’s worst cyclonic disaster, 1999 Super Cyclone that has hit Odisha making landfall in Paradip on October 29, has today completed 21 years. Even after a long span of time still the memories of that horrifying day seems to be fresh in everyone’s mind.
In a huge loss, more than 10,000 people were killed and over 3.5 lakh people became homeless, striving hard to get food for their survival. It was a day when wind speed of 260 kmph raged for over 36 hours, failing the anemometer (a device used for measuring wind speed) to record the data.
It is true indeed that Super Cyclone had been worst natural disaster ever experienced or witnessed in an era but in case of Odisha , it has always been hit by horrifying cyclonic storm may it be the deadliest cyclone that hit the state in 1971 claiming 10,000 lives , followed with another major cyclone in 1855 , causing 5,000 deaths .
Looking forward to the demand of time, the Odisha government with an aim to strongly combat the aftermath of the cyclone, in 1999 established the Odisha State Disaster Mitigation Authority, which was later modified as Odisha State Disaster Management Authority in September 2008.
The organisation then actively played role in coping up with the natural calamity, by shifting people to safer places prior to the landfall of the disaster in the particular place as predicted by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), gearing up the cleaning activities on road to create communication after the disaster, availing disaster hit areas with food and temporary shelters.
Odisha, now stands as role model in disaster management for other states by not only carrying out disaster management mock drills from time to time, with an aim to achieve zero casualties in any natural calamities. In 2001 for efficient management Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force was formed and also State Disaster Management Policy was formulated in 2005.
Previous year, on May 3 Odisha witnessed Fani, killing 64 people even after 10 lakh people were evacuated and communication in twin city and Puri was badly hit resulting into complete failure . This made the state government re-think about strengthening post-disaster communication failure due to natural calamities.
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Written By-Interview Times Bureau