File picture of a worker restoring power in Phailin-hit Berhampur
Bhubaneswar, Dec. 20: The United Nations (UN) today showered praises on the state government for successful evacuation of nine lakh people before Phailin struck the state on October 12.
It has also invited chief minister Naveen Patnaik to take part in its global conference on disaster management in 2015.
Appreciating the efforts of the state government to handle issues in the aftermath of the cyclone, Margareta Wahlstrom, special representative of UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon for disaster risk reduction, presented a citation to Naveen at the state secretariat today. She also applauded the government’s “zero casualty” target during the cyclone.
“Odisha has done excellent work in the evacuation and saving lives. It is a landmark success story in disaster management,” said Wahlstrom.
The state government had made elaborate arrangements for evacuation of people, especially after having learnt a cruel lesson during the 1999 super cyclone that wreaked havoc in coastal parts, claiming nearly 10,000 lives.
All the hoteliers had been asked not to allow any tourist besides undertaking an active campaign to ask the people to vacate their homes close to the sea.
The efforts resulted in minimising casualty. The death toll reached 21 this time.
Acknowledging the appreciation of the UN, Naveen gave the credit for the success of Phailin management to “the brave people of Odisha who rose to the occasion in spite of all odds and faced the calamity with inspiring courage”.
Thanking the meteorological department for its accurate prediction of the storm that played a major role in the preparedness, he said: “We want to prepare a long-term disaster risk reduction plan and climate change action plan for our state to be implemented in the coming years.”
Naveen dedicated the award to the people.
“Disaster mitigation is a process towards establishment of world peace. The citation is also a recommendation of the endeavour of the people’s representatives, the media and the government of Odisha towards achieving that goal,” the chief minister said.