Coastal districts of Odisha need disaster-resilient infrastructure: Central team

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Bhubaneswar, Jun 8 (PTI) With Odisha frequently facing natural calamities, an Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT), which is in the state to make an on-the-spot assessment of damages caused by cyclone Yaas, said coastal districts require more disaster-resilient infrastructure, official sources said.

The Ministry of Home Affairs Joint Secretary Sunil Kumar Barnwal, who led the seven-member team, that visited the cyclone ravaged Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara, Mayurbhanj, and Jagatsinghpur districts since Monday, held a meeting with Chief Secretary S C Mohapatra and other senior officials here on Tuesday.

'Odishas coastal districts require disaster-resilient roads and electrical infrastructure,' an official note issued by the Chief Secretary office said quoting Barnwal.

The team, however, praised the state governments preparedness, response, and disaster management skills due to which many precious lives were saved, it said.

Cyclone Yaas that hit the Odisha coast at Bahanada near Dhamra port on May 26 claimed three lives besides causing damage to houses and farmlands.

Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) PK Jena informed the central team that Odisha has faced at least 98 major cyclones between 1891 and 2000, while the number of such disasters was 69 in West Bengal, 62 in Tamil Nadu, 28 in Gujarat, 3 in Kerala and 2 in Karnataka during the same period.

This apart, the state has encountered eight major cyclones between 1999 and 2021.

Therefore, the state is vulnerable to such disasters, and a long-term solution is required to save the lives and properties of people, Jena said.

Cyclone Yaas affected over 75 lakh people in 11 coastal districts, damaged 26,781 houses, and hit more than 12.77 lakh livestock, the SRC said.

As many as 7.10 lakh people were evacuated to safe shelters during the cyclone, he said.

The chief secretary apprised the central team of the states requirement of disaster-resilient power infrastructure and saline embankments across the coast to protect people from tidal surges.

The state government has been preparing a long-term plan and this will be submitted to the Centre soon, he said.

The chief secretary also informed the team that the state government has been making expenditures towards relief and restoration from the State Disaster Response Fund.

He stressed the need for long-term measures to protect Odisha from cyclones.

After undertaking an aerial survey, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on May 28 announced Rs 500 crore relief assistance for the state and said that a central team would visit the state soon.

The state has pegged the post-cyclone damage at Rs 610 crore, which includes losses of Rs 520 crore in government infrastructure and Rs 90 crore due to damages in private properties. PTI AAM MM MM

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