Terming mass evacuation of people from coastal areas ahead of Cyclone Phailin's landfall as the secret of Odisha government's handling of the disaster, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said the state plans to integrate youths in disaster management.
"Our preparedness for Cyclone Phailin was fail proof. Successful evacuation of about ten lakh people before the cyclone helped us save many lives," Patnaik told a function on the occasion of the Odisha Disaster Preparedness Day and National Day for Disaster Reduction.
The Day is observed every year on October 29 marking the super cyclone on that day in 1999 when about 10,000 people were killed. 21 people died in Cyclone Phailin.
Drawing a parallel between the super cyclone in 1999 and Cyclone Phailin earlier this month, Patnaik said extensive planning, preparedness and continuous efforts for capacity building in the past 14 years, paid results.
In the aftermath of the super cyclone, Odisha State Disaster Mitigation Authority (OSDMA) was created and the government concentrated on both structural and non-structural interventions to build capacity to face disasters, he said.
The state has constructed 247 multipurpose cyclone and flood shelters in remote areas and 163 more shelter buildings were being constructed under the National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project and Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project with assistance from the World Bank, he said.
Besides, 38 multipurpose flood shelters were also being constructed, Patnaik said.
The Chief Minister said all completed shelter buildings were used during Cyclone Phailin to accommodate evacuated people and attributed the performance of ten units of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force and fire services wing during the recent calamities, to their strengthening with modern machinery and training.
Stating that 42 per cent of the state's population was youth and in the age group of 13 to 35 years, Patnaik said youths can play a vital role in disaster management.
"10,000 student volunteers from 100 colleges will be given basic training on disaster management skills by OSDMA," he added.