Disaster Preparation and Recovery: The Odisha Model - Eastern Mirror
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Disaster Preparation and Recovery: The Odisha Model

By The Editorial Team Updated: Jun 13, 2021 11:01 pm

Natural calamities and biological disasters like Covid-19 keep on occurring and cause immeasurable pain, death and loss. There is no mechanism to prevent such occurrences but proper preparation can help us minimise damages. For example, both the first and second wave of Covid-19 threw our current disaster systems into disarray. When the first wave came, we were not aware of the nature of the virus but we somehow managed to get past it. This was followed by the second wave which further exposed inadequacies in our healthcare system. It was during the second wave that we truly came to know that our national capital was completely dependent on other states for Oxygen as it had no facilities to produce the same. Similar was the case in many other metropolitan cities in our country where healthcare services are reminiscent of pre-historic ages. Hopefully, the anticipated third wave will not be able to cause such extensive damage as the country has stepped up preparations at the right earnest to prevent the virus from causing further damage.

To make such preparedness permanent, there is a need to integrate disaster preparedness into our core systems so that we are not found wanting when confronting future calamities and disasters. We need to build a robust system from the grass roots level up in-order to enable us to put up a united fight. The job may appear to be a humongous one but the goal is achievable. In this regard, we can take a leaf out of Odisha state. Due to its geographical location, the  eastern state is a favourite touching ground for cyclones. Most severe of them was the super cyclone of 1999 when wind speeds touched nearly 220 km per hour and the landfall process seemed to be unending. The super cyclone devastated Odisha to say the least, however, the state has made a remarkable turnaround since then. Now, it has its own disaster management department in place which works round the clock, throughout the year. The state has created huge facilities to prevent loss of life during cyclones. Moreover, the state has formed teams with experts to restore normalcy as soon as a natural calamity is over. As a result, for the last 20 years Odisha has successfully dealt with cyclones without much damage. The most recent example was cyclone Yaas, it made landfall near Balasore in the state but caused more damage in neighbouring West Bengal than Odisha. While other affected states requested for funds to cope with the situation, the Odisha Government has refused central assistance.

It is heartening to note that Odisha has also taken a lead role in fighting against pandemics. It has now decided to train everyone in pandemic and disaster management. The programme will start from primary school level and will be included in higher curriculums too. All government employees will also be trained. Thus, it will create a huge knowledge infrastructure regarding such occurrences. Other states too need to follow the same policy in-order to effectively tackle calamities and disasters in the future.

By The Editorial Team Updated: Jun 13, 2021 11:01:00 pm