Review of pre-monsoon cyclone preparedness in Odisha

A meeting on was held under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary in the secretariat today to review the state of preparedness by the related departments and agencies to encounter the pre-monsoon cyclone, if any. Among others, Development Commissioner–cum- Additional Chief Secretary, Special Relief Commissioner & Commissioner-cum-Secretary (Disaster Management), Secretaries of Water Resource Department, Panchayati Raj & Drinking Water Department, Rural Development Department, Revenue & DM Department, Energy Department, Food Supplies & Consumer Welfare Department, Special Secretary, Home Department, Senior Commandant, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Director, India Meteorological Department (IMD) and Senior Officers of both State and Central Government Departments/ Agencies attended the meeting.

The Director, India Meteorological Department, Bhubaneswar in his presentation indicated that quantitatively the monsoon seasonal rainfall is likely to be 97% with a model error of ± 5% this year. He mentioned that IMD gives forecast for 5 days and outlook for subsequent 2 days which is provided to Govt. authorities and both electronic and print media every day. City forecast for next 7 days in respect of 16 cities are issued in the morning and modified in the evening, if any. These data are also uploaded in IMD’s website. There is also standard protocol for transmission of the cyclone warning and alert messages are transmitted to different Govt. authorities including the District Collectors and media.

Doppler Weather Radars are functioning at Paradip and Gopalpur which will help for cyclone tracking and forecasting. These radars also help in forecasting tornado, thunderstorm and hail-storm. The existing 35 Cyclone Warning Dissemination Systems (CWDS) have been upgraded to Digital Cyclone Warning Dissemination Systems (DCWDS) and 21 new DCWDS have been installed in Coastal Districts. 177 Automatic Rain Gauge (ARG) Stations and 37 Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) have been installed by IMD all over the State.

Chief Secretary observed that IMD should explore possibility of working out region wise rainfall predictions since generalized predictions do not help much. Similarly, predictions for localized disasters like thunderstorm/ hailstorm/ lightning should be more location specific instead of being for the entire district or a number of districts. He further directed to pursue the matter with the Government of India and IMD, New Delhi for installation of Doppler Radars at Sambalpur and Balasore at the earliest.

BSNL authorities reported that BSNL has necessary arrangements in place to keep the telecommunication system operational in a cyclone situation. Chief Secretary advised to have necessary arrangement with local telecom service providers for sending alert/ warning messages through SMS to all cell phone consumers of the areas likely to be affected. He also advised to make arrangements for dissemination of cyclone/ flood/ weather warning and related special bulletins by All India Radio, FM Channels, all TV and local cable channels.

Special Relief Commissioner indicated that the satellite phones provided to the Collectors, ODRAF units and Key State level Officers are being test operated on regular intervals to ensure that the sets are in operational condition. Toll free telephone numbers 1070 and 1077 in State and District EOCs respectively are functional. Temporary Police VHFs will be installed in remote/ inaccessible areas prone to floods before the onset of monsoon. The Police Communication Network will also be used in disaster situations, if required. Apart from all these, Social Media (Facebook, Twitter & Whatsapp) is used for disaster response related communications.

There are 20 ODRAF units set up across the state which are ready for deployment for rescue and relief operation during flood and cyclone. There are 317 Fire Stations equipped with required search & rescue equipment and trained manpower to take up search & rescue. Besides, 11 teams, each consisting of 35 personnel, of NDRF 3rd Battalion at Mundali are ready for deployment. Familiarization Exercises (FAMEX) are being conducted by NDRF, ODRAF and Fire Services in peace time. As many as 300 power boats under State Port Engineering Organisation of Special Relief Commissioner are in readiness for use in case of flooding for relief management.

Mock drill on management of flood and cyclone will be held on 19th of June  2018 in all the districts. Such drill will also be conducted in all 879 multipurpose cyclone/ flood shelters in the State during which community volunteers will take part in disaster management drills. ODRAF, Fire Services, NDRF, PRI members and Local NGOs will participate in the mock drill.

Preparedness by all the concerned Departments of the State Government such as Water Resource, Rural Development, Home, Health & Family Welfare, Housing & Urban Development, Fisheries and Animal Resources Development, Panchayati Raj & Drinking Water, Energy, Works, Women & Child Development and Mission Shakti and Food Supplies & Consumer Welfare was reviewed in the meeting. Health & FW Department was advised to take necessary steps for shifting of the pregnant women in flood prone areas to MAA Gruha immediately on receipt of flood warnings. It was decided to make a proper inventory of rescue and relief equipment available both in govt. and private sector and keep it handy for use in emergency situations.

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