Early Warning Saves Millions

While appreciation is flooding for the Odisha Government in saving millions of lives and stayed resilient against natural disasters like Super Storm FANI, experts feel that technology came to the rescue of the State during the Hour of Crisis.

Thanks to the decisive State Administration for adopting Early Warning Dissemination System (EWDS) for Coastal Districts, it came as a huge help for Odisha, which faced one of its worst Cyclone in last two decades.
Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi, who heads the Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) decided to implement EWDS in a time bound manner.
Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Bishnupada Sethi made dogged pursuit to monitor the implementation of the State of the Art Project.
So it came in handy during the crisis, when FANI hit the State in a bad way.
This time, the authorities, armed with the EWDS, were well prepared beforehand - 2.6 million text messages were sent to warn locals of the coming storm and siren alerts were activated.
The Disaster Management Team of the state of Odisha successfully carried out the "biggest human evacuation in history" with several departments working in tandem to manage the herculean rescue effort that helped save the life of thousands.
Advertisements on the television and radio were made for the safe evacuation of the citizens to the shelters.
The state of the art disaster response facility at State level and District level Emergency Operation Centres, set up under this project which are equipped with Dispatcher terminals, GIS Software etc. allowed radio dispatchers to effectively monitor and participate in activities of the subscriber radio units under their operation for quick and efficient response when the cyclone hit the state.
The Sirens loud speakers and TV ads disseminated warnings and instructions for evacuation. Not a single fisherman was injured during this calamity. The efforts were lauded by the disaster management experts and the UN agencies and appreciations are pouring in from various parts of the world.
However, the damage could have been much worse had it not been for Odisha authorities who managed to evacuate a record 1.2 million or 12 lakh people in 24 hours to avert large scale devastation.
The project has proven its effectiveness in saving lives and is also being implemented in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh by L&T SWC.
It serves as an example on how technology can be adopted for the social benefit and is replicable to the rest of the country. There is a need to focus on expediting implementation of such projects of national Importance to make our citizens lives safe and secure.
In fact the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India conceptualized a comprehensive National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Strategy which is a part of the Multi-hazard Mitigation Plan developed at the National level.

Larsen and Toubro’s Smart World and Communication Division (L&T SWC) was chosen through International Competitive bidding process based on the robustness of its solution offered to implement Odisha and Andhra Pradesh EWDS projects.
L&T SWC had since successfully implemented a European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) standards compliant Communication network for Odisha at 22 Coastal Blocks, thanks to sincere efforts of L & T Project Director C Krishnan, an able Project Implementing Specialist.
The project geographically covers all 22 coastal blocks in Odisha covering the districts of Puri, Bhadrak, Jagatsighpur, Baleswar, Kendrapara and Ganjam.
The Alert Sirens installed on 163 Towers at Cyclone shelters, Government buildings, Fish Landing centres and at Tourist Sea beaches were activated from SEOC, constantly broadcasting warnings and instructions to the Public.

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