Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said on Sunday Odisha had come a long way since the 1999 super cyclone and had become a model state in disaster preparedness and risk mitigation. He said the state government planned to take concrete steps to tackle natural disasters with a focus on strengthening early warning mechanism and school safety.
Odisha, which was once known for its mismanagement of natural disasters, was now setting global benchmarks in disaster management, he said. “Odisha has become a model state in disaster preparedness and risk mitigation,” Patnaik said.
“School Safety Policy of 2016 as designed by NDMA (National Disaster Management Authority) will be implemented by School and Mass Education Department soon,” he said at a function on the occasion of Disaster Preparedness Day and National Day for Disaster Reduction.
He said the government had also planned to integrate youth power for disaster management and volunteers of NCC and NSS of colleges have been trained on disaster management skill by the Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA).
“Early Warning to Save Lives” has been chosen as this year’s theme, he said, adding the state government had ensured adequate planning, preparedness and capacity building to minimise human casualty during any disaster.
So far, we have constructed 879 multipurpose cyclone and flood shelters and 17,000 Odisha Disaster Recovery Project (ODRP) houses for Phailin affected people of Ganjam and Khurda district, Patnaik said. Similarly, 571 houses have been built at Bagapatia to resettle sea inundation affected people of Satabhaya in Kendrapara district and 5 special godowns, and 12 saline embankments in disaster-prone areas, he said.
In our effort to strengthen participatory approach, the ownership and management of all shelters have been handed over to local management committees and task forces, formed at the shelter level, said Patnaik.
Speaking on the occasion, OSDMA managing director, P K Mohapatra said disaster management would be included in school curriculum from next academic session in the state as per the guidelines of NDMA. The focus would be on imparting life-saving skill training to children at school levels and new syllabus on disaster management would be included in the curriculum, he said.
Mohapatra said Odisha would be the first state in the country to have Early Warning Dissemination System (EWDS) soon for six coastal districts that are prone to natural disasters. The CM, who went round an exhibition displaying various preparedness mechanism, also switched on a Demonstration Tower Siren as part of the EWDS mechanism, which will warn people of a disaster like situation to move to safe places. He also watched a demonstration of cycle ambulances.