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As Odisha is prone to natural calamities such as cyclone and flood, the state government on Saturday said it was setting up early warning towers along the state’s coastline. “Provision for last connectivity with the facility of early warning towers has been taken up at 122 locations all along the coast to disseminate cyclone/tsunami warning,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said while addressing a state-level function organised on the occasion of Disaster Preparedness Day and National Day for Disaster Reduction.
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The day is widely observed in the state as about 10,000 people of Odisha were killed on this date in 1999 due to a super cyclone. It has been 17 years since the super cyclone struck Odisha on October 29 and left the state devastated. But, the lessons it taught have left indelible imprints on the state. Though the state cannot stop nature’s fury, Patnaik said, the day is observed to ensure that no natural calamity causes destruction of that magnitude in the future.
While Odisha has properly handled major cyclones such as Phailin in 2013 and Hudhud in 2014, deaths due to lightning strikes are a cause for concern, said the chief minister. An average of 300 lives are claimed by lightning strikes annually in the state.
“We have already set up 879 cyclone shelters. The state government will set up 122 warning towers to help the district administrations get timely updates on any deep depression or cyclonic storm,” said Patnaik. He said the state has set up shelter houses for cyclone and flood-affected people and raised the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) for early relief-and-rescue operation during calamities.
Meanwhile, sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik created an artwork as part of his tributes to the victims of the 1999 super cyclone at the Clean Beach Festival in Paradip.