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Monday, Nov 18, 2019

Odisha plans a roadmap to rebuild a better state every time disaster strikes

Odisha State Disaster Management Authority--country’s first such authority set up after the 1999 super cyclone--is holding 6 state-wide consultations to finalise the roadmap, to be unveiled on October 29, the Disaster Preparedness Day.

india Updated: Jul 20, 2019 15:02 IST
Debabrata Mohanty
Debabrata Mohanty
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar
A woman cooks outside her house destroyed by the cyclone
A woman cooks outside her house destroyed by the cyclone "Fani" in the Pratap Purushottampur village area of Puri in Odisha on May 10, 2019. (AFP File Photo)
         

Often at the receiving end of natural disasters like cyclone, drought and floods striking in quick succession; Odisha is now planning a road map for disaster risk reduction to strengthen state’s disaster governance and preparedness. The road map also aims to shore up infrastructure and livelihoods from pre-disaster levels.

Odisha State Disaster Management Authority--country’s first such authority set up after the 1999 super cyclone--is holding 6 state-wide consultations to finalise the roadmap, to be unveiled on October 29, the Disaster Preparedness Day. October 29 will also mark the 20th anniversary of the 1999 super cyclone that killed over 10,000 people in the state.

Chief general manager of OSDMA, Pradeep Kumar Nayak said the road map was a necessity for a disaster prone state like Odisha, which, despite its successes had a long way to go in addressing some challenges. “The State road map will have quantifiable milestones to achieve the targets,” said Nayak.

The roadmap, when finalised, could even be adopted by other states.

As per a report jointly prepared by the state government, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and the United Nations, cyclone Fani caused losses worth Rs 24,176 crore and affected over 1.65 crore people in the state. Govt estimates the losses to be 5% of the gross state domestic product in 2018–19.

The report said Odisha was close to achieving zero mortality, but loss of livelihoods and infrastructure in disasters had increased. The combined economic loss from the last 3 cyclones - Phailin, Titli, and Fani – stood around Rs 40,474 crore, it said.

OSDMA managing director Bishnupada Sethi said among other things, the new road map would go beyond the traditional way of responding to disasters after it had struck. “It would give clear idea on how to “Build Back Better”(BBB) or recover, rehabilitate and reconstruct better than the pre-disaster levels. A BBB approach, with interventions specific to communities, occupations and locations will prevent the increase in incidence of income-poverty in the state,” he said.

The plan was geared to deliver social inclusion and prioritise the needs of the most vulnerable such as people with disability, fisherfolk, slum dwellers, artisans, Dalit communities and the extremely poor, said Sethi.

Officials said multi-disaster resilient housing--with large glass windows, glass and aluminium panels for withstanding wind speeds--would be one of the key road map features, as Fani had hit housing the hardest, damaging nearly 3.62 lakh units.

Power and telecom infrastructure with ability to withstand high winds and function after the disaster will be another focus area in the road map. While the State lost close to Rs 8138 crore due to snapping of power lines that plunged cyclone-affected areas into darkness for more than two months, more than 5500 base transceiver stations of mobile companies were damaged leading to connectivity outage in 80% areas in the three cities of Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Puri, hampering rescue and relief operations for weeks.

“The road map would focus on recovery that would build on international best practices and at the same time promote traditional craftsmanship to retain Odisha’s cultural identity,” said an official.

Dr Balaram Jadhav of Unicef, who is one of the consultants for the disaster road map said the goal was to build a resilient Odisha by 2036 when the State would complete 100 years of its foundation.