The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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State shield for double disaster
- 22 per cent of Orissa falls in earthquake-risk zone

Bhubaneswar, Oct. 29: Experts today advised the Orissa government, which observed the 8th anniversary of 1999 super cyclone today, to gear up its disaster management machinery and the community to face two other major emerging threats — tsunami and earthquake.

The Union forest and environment ministry today also issued a forest clearance certificate for setting up a Doppler radar at Paradip that would enable forecast of a calamity 12 hours before it hit the coast. “We expect operation of the radar before the next cyclone,” said Orissa’s special relief commissioner N.K. Sundaray. The Indian meteorological department would set it up at a cost of Rs 20 crore.

Other safety measures should include increase in the capacity of engineers, architects and other stakeholders to reduce vulnerability and generate awareness among residents, said Hari Kumar, a seismic expert from New Delhi-based Geo-Hazard International, who pointed out that several places including Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Hirakud dam and Paradip port fall under moderate earthquake risk zones — the same as Lattur, Ahmedabad or Jabalpur which had experienced devastating earthquakes.

Around 22 per cent of the state’s total area comes under this zone, he said. Laying stress on construction of earthquake-resistant buildings, Kumar said while the new ones should have vertical bands and pillar structures to keep the walls, roof and other parts together, earthquake-resistant features can be added to existing buildings through retrofitting.

T. Srinivas Kumar, head of Advisory Services and Satellite Oceanography Group of Hyderabad-based Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services, who gave a presentation on tsunami mitigation, said Orissa is a tsunami-prone state. About 328 villages located within a km and a half of the sea coast have been identified as tsunami-prone and village-level plans are being prepared for preparedness and immediate response, managing director of Orissa State Disaster Mitigation Authority told The Telegraph. The body is planning to hold a workshop on October 30-31 to train trainers on tsunami.

Around 30 high school teachers teaching and science have been selected for the training programme.

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