UNESCO-IOC Recognition Of Two Communities Of Odisha As Tsunami Ready

Bhubaneswar: Odisha is the first State in India to get two coastal villages Tsunami Ready. This makes the Country to be first in the Indian ocean region to achieve this honour. The Venkatraipur (Boxipalli) village of Rangeilunda block of Ganjam district and Noliasahi village of Ersama block of Jagatsinghpur district have been acknowledged by Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO for greater preparedness to face the tsunami disaster.

Odisha has learnt to live with the disaster by strengthening its disaster preparedness from the community to the highest levels of administration. The State set up the first Disaster Management Authority in the nation in the aftermath of the Super Cyclone of 1999 to reduce the vulnerability of the people and build resilience of the community.

Since then, Odisha has been marching ahead in the field of disaster management with the core principles set by the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik as follows:

Intuitive planning and creating infrastructure in advance
Empowering community to take charge of the situation through community-led efforts
Decentralised governance through empowerment of PRIs
Use of technology in planning, monitoring and management.

The State has set high goals for itself to prepare for the natural and human induced disasters in the coming times owing to the climate change scenarios.

In an event (over video conferencing) scheduled on Friday (August 7), ‘Certificate of Recognition’ will be handed over to the communities of Venkatraipur and Noliasahi as Tsunami Ready villages. Additional Chief Secretary and Managing Director, Odisha State Disaster management Authority (OSDMA), Pradeep Jena will receive the certificate from UNESCO. The communities of the both Noliasahi and Venkatraipur in presence of district collectors will receive the certificates in the event.

The online event will be organized by Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/IOTWMS) Secretariat in Perth, Australia and Indian Ocean Tsunami Information Centre (IOTIC) in Jakarta, Indonesia. Dr. M. Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) and G.V.V. Sharma, IAS, Member Secretary, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) will attend the event.

International delegates, Dr. Srinivasa Kumar Tummala, Head-ICG/IOTWMS, Ardito M. Kodijat, Head, Indian Ocean Tsunami Information Centre (IOTIC), Prof. Dwikorita Karnawati DG, BMKG & Chair, ICG/IOTWMS of UNESCO-IOC will participate in the programme.

At National Level, Dr. S.S.C. Shenoi, Vice-Chairperson, UNESCO-IOC, Former Director, INCOIS & Former Chairman of the National Board on implementation of Indian Ocean Tsunami Ready; Dr. T.M. Balakrishnan Nair, Director (I/C) INCOIS and E. Pattabhi Rama Rao, Head-TWG, INCOIS & Member-Secretary, National Board on implementation of Indian Ocean Tsunami Ready will also remain present in the event.

Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA), Odisha has implemented the Tsunami Ready programme in the State. The Indian Ocean Tsunami Ready Programme of IOC-UNESCO is a community performance-based programme that facilitates tsunami preparedness as an active collaboration of the community, community leaders, and national & local emergency management agencies. The main objective of this programme is to improve coastal community preparedness for tsunami emergencies, to minimize the loss of life and property and to ensure structural and systematic approach in building community preparedness.

Odisha State Disaster Management Authority has taken various preparedness activities for managing tsunami disasters in the coastal area. Disaster Management Plans at different level have been prepared to addresses Tsunami disasters. Regular tsunami mock drills are being conducted at the tsunami prone villages as a part of International Tsunami Drills (IOWaves) and National Tsunami drills. The Early Warning Dissemination System (EWDS) for Last Mile Connectivity has been setup in the tsunami prone villages. This system addresses the existing gap for disseminating tsunami warning up to the community level. Regular awareness campaigns are being carried out in the tsunami prone area.

The recognition by the UNESCO is a great achievement for the State of Odisha for the tsunami preparedness. It would make Odisha a role model for tsunami preparedness. With this award, the State is motivated to make the balance 326 villages and Urban Local Bodies tsunami ready in one year time.