Odisha to set up automatic weather stations

Bhubaneswar: For better impact-based forecasting, the Odisha government has decided to set up telemetric rain gauges in all gram panchayats, automatic weather stations at block headquarters, and sensors in river systems.

These steps will help the state to get precise real time information for more effective management of disasters, said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here on Saturday.

Patnaik has said this while addressing an event organised here to observe Odisha Disaster Preparedness Day and National Day for Disaster Reduction.

This day is observed every year to remember the valuable human lives lost in Super Cyclone, 1999.

During 23 years since the Super Cyclone, the Odisha government has done everything possible to make Odisha a safer place during disasters, he said.

“Odisha today has the most robust infrastructure for disaster management. The world has recognised our efforts in all these years. I would like to thank my 4.5 crore brothers and sisters for their support and solidarity in building a disaster resilient Odisha,” said the Chief Minister.

He appreciated the efforts of members of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and Mission Shakti, frontline workers like ASHAs and anganwadis, NGOs and community level volunteers, government officials, Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), fire services, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and police personnel for their coordinated work to reduce human casualty.

During 2022, he said, the state faced floods in the Mahanadi, Baitarani and Subarnarekha river systems, affecting more than 23 lakh people in 16 districts.

Due to robust preparedness and coordinated efforts, the state has evacuated nearly 2.7 lakh people to safer places and took up timely relief and restoration measures, he pointed out.

“Our geographic location makes us prone to natural disasters. Every life is precious. Nearly 10,000 people died in Super Cyclone 1999. Then, we did not have safe shelters. During these years, 815 multi-purpose cyclone and flood shelters have been constructed while another 55 new shelters are under construction out of Chief Ministers’ Relief Fund (SMRF),” he said.

To strengthen community driven preparedness, Patnaik said his government is training more than 40,000 volunteers at village and shelter level. Further, the government is taking up capacity building of elected representatives of PRIs, urban local bodies (ULBs), Mission Shakti members, ASHAs, Anganwadi Workers, Vana Surakhya Samiti (VSS) Members, as they play a key role in disaster risk reduction, he added.

Besides, disaster and pandemic management is being introduced in the educational curricula of students from standard 4 to graduation level with a view to preparing disaster management ‘yodhas’ in every village and households, said Patnaik.

On this occasion, he appealed to all stakeholders and citizens to come forward and join hands with the government to create a disaster resilient Odisha.

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