Bhubaneswar, May 8: A mock drill will be conducted on the coastal belt soon to test the preparedness of the official machinery as well as the community in case of a cyclone.
“The exercise might be conducted towards the end of this month or in the first half of June,” special relief commissioner Pradipta Mohapatra told The Telegraph today.
Learning lessons from the devastating super-cyclone of 1999 that had claimed around 2,000 lives and affected 18.9 million people in 14 districts, Odisha was a pioneer in setting up the Odisha Disaster Mitigation Authority and formulating a disaster management policy.
“Of course, we are now better prepared after the 1999 super-cyclone. But we are reviewing our preparedness from time to time,” said Mohapatra.
The mock drill will be conducted at all the 200 cyclone shelters located in six coastal districts to test the operational efficacy of the emergency equipment and the preparedness of the community.
District and block level officials, panchayat raj representatives and community task force members will be involved in the exercise.
During the preparedness drill, there will be a mock alert and evacuation will follow. People of vulnerable pockets will come to the cyclone shelters. Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force units and fire service personnel will be involved in the exercise, said an official.
The operational efficacy of the communication and other emergency equipment will be put to test, he added.
On October 12 last year, a mock drill was conducted by the Odisha State Disaster Mitigation Authority at six vulnerable locations along the coast in as many districts to test preparedness in case of a tsunami.
The exercise was conducted under the supervision of the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services for testing the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System. Official sources said that so far, 200 cyclone shelters had been set up in six coastal districts. Another 164 are under construction under the World Bank-funded National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project and Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project.
Each cyclone shelter is equipped with 32 types of emergency equipment such as generator, inflatable tower light, mechanised cutter, life buoy, life jacket, ropes and pulley and extendable ladder.
The Centre has also sanctioned four Doppler radar stations to be set up in Paradip, Chhatrapur, Sambalpur and Balasore for disaster warning.
Official sources said the building for the Doppler radar station in Paradip had been completed and the radar had already been procured, but the radar was yet to be installed because the Centre hasn’t yet cleared the project.
The state government would take up the matter with the Centre soon so that the Doppler radar station at Paradip can be made operational as soon as possible.
The meteorology department has 37 automatic weather reading stations and 177 automatic rain gauge stations. A decision has been taken to ask the Centre for installation of rain gauge stations at all 314 blocks. The proposal for installation of more 40 automatic weather reading stations was discussed at the meeting chaired by chief secretary Bijoy Patnaik today.