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Cyclone ‘Titli’: ‘Zero Casualty’ Mission By Odisha Govt Accomplished


11 October 2018

Ajesh Mallick


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Bhubaneswar: Very severe cyclonic storm 'Titli', which is being referred to as a Category 2 hurricane, made landfall at Palasa in Andhra Pradesh very close to Gopalpur in Ganjam district of Odisha at around 5.30 am today. As the eye of the storm passed through Palasa, the maximum wind speed recorded was 126 km per hour (kmph).

“Our target was to achieve zero casualty and so far not a single person has been reported to be dead. It is a sense of achievement that no one lost life because of this severe cyclone as we had made extensive effort to evacuate people on time,” informed Bishnupada Sethi, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC), Odisha.

The Odisha Government had made elaborate arrangements soon after the warning of the very severe cyclone was issued by the IMD and it helped achieve the ‘zero casualty’ mission during this exigency.

1: About three lakh people were shifted from low-lying and vulnerable areas in Ganjam, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara and Khordha districts and were kept in more than 1100 multi-purpose cyclone shelters. Notably in the aftermath of the Super Cyclone 1999, Government of Odisha decided to construct multipurpose cyclone shelters along the Odisha coast to provide safe shelters to the vulnerable people during floods and cyclones.

2: All arrangements were made for food, drinking water, sanitation, and lighting. All the cyclone shelters are equipped with emergency equipments with 32 types of sophisticated equipment required for disaster management including power saw, siren, free kitchen utensils, flexi water tank, solar light, stretcher, life buoy and life jacket, inflatable tower light, generator, etc.

3: More than 150 pregnant women were shifted to various hospitals last night. The Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) were stationed in areas that were likely to be affected in this cyclone. Similarly the firemen were also ready for any kind of emergency.

4: The ambitious scheme of ‘pucca house’ construction in rural areas was carried out zealously by the Odisha Government. after the launch of this scheme in 2014-15. Around 19 lakh pucca houses were already been constructed from its own funds. The transformation of kutcha houses to pucca ones reduced the casualty to a huge extent. Rather, it almost wiped out the possibility of any casualty in the rural coastal areas.

5: Early warning, timely communication, lessons learnt from earlier cyclones and effective disaster planning contributed to the successful evacuation operation, preparedness at the community level and impact mitigation. The accomplishment of zero casualty in this event exhibited the importance, benefits and effectiveness of the use of early warning for a massive disaster.

The latest reports say that though the wind speed missed Ganjam, it affected Gajapati to a great extent. Road communication from district headquarters to various parts like Mohana and Kashinagar was disrupted because of the falling of trees, said Special Relief Commissioner Bishnupada Sethi. Damages to houses with thatched and asbestos roofs and street lights were reported in the district.

Heavy rains lashed at least eight districts of Ganjam, Gajapati, Khurda, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore as 'Titli' with high-velocity winds crossed the south Odisha-north Andhra Pradesh coasts leaving behind uprooted trees.

Regarding the restoration of power and electricity in Ganjam district, SRC said, “As per the standard protocol, when the wind speed is more than 80 kmph, the power goes off automatically. And where there is disruption because of the falling of trees, it will be restored within few hours.

Also Read: 'Titli' Weakening, Heading Towards West Bengal: Bhubaneswar IMD Director

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Bishnupada Sethi, SRC, Odisha

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Aditya Prasad Padhi, Chief Secretary, Odisha