Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has urged the BIMSTEC countries to improve their early warning dissemination system and capacity building for protection of cultural heritage sites from natural disasters.
Mr.Patnaik urged that the heritage sites must be preserved for future generations at any cost because they not only represent cultural identity of a nation but are also a driving force for the country's economy.
Mr.Patnaik said this while inaugurating the second BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise-2020 (BIMSTEC DMEx-2020), hosted by National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in collaboration with Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA).
The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an international organisation of seven nations of south Asia and south east Asia.
The Member Countries of BIMSTEC are Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan.
Noting that the theme of the exercise is focused on restoration of heritage sites damaged in natural disasters, Mr.Patnaik said,
"The BIMSTEC countries are a great repository of ancient heritage with numerous cultural heritage sites susceptible to various kinds of natural disasters."
Substantial damages to monuments during Gujarat earthquake in 2001 and the 2005 tremor in Nepal are a reminder of the threat to heritage sites, Mr.Patnaik pointed out.
Chief Minister Mr.Patnaik said, Odisha is vulnerable to calamities as the state faced more than 100 cyclones since 1891.
"It is important to undertake adequate documentation, proper identification and grading of heritage sites," he said.
NDRF Director General, Satya Narayan Pradhan, DGP, Abhay, Chief Secretary, Asit Tripathy, NDMA Member Secretary, GVV Sarma, ACS Disaster Managment,Pradeep Jena, Representatives from the Member countries and other dignitaries were present at the inaugural ceremony.
While five countries- Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Nepal - are participating in this exercise, two other member countries Bhutan and Thailand, could not make it due to travel advisories issued by their Governments on account of nCoV.