Odisha government's "effective" management of the very severe cyclonic storm Phailin, which hit the state's coast on October 12, has earned praise from the United Nations, official sources said on Tuesday.
"Odisha's handling of the very severe cyclone will be a landmark success story in disaster management," Margareta Wahlstrm, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General (SRSG) for Disaster Risk Reduction said, according to an official of the Chief Minister's Office here.
Wahlstrm, the official said, spoke to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday over phone and appreciated efforts of the state government and others for effectively evacuating and protecting precious lives.
The state government, which fixed the target of "Zero Casualty" during the cyclone, had earlier said it had evacuated as many as 9,83,553 people from the coast.
Chief Minister Patnaik had expressed satisfaction over proper handling of the cyclone and said "We have been successful in saving and protecting precious lives."
While as many as 9,885 people had died in the super cyclone which hit Odisha coast in 1999, this time the casualty figure was confined to 21, official sources said.
Of the above 9 lakh people evacuated from the coastal regions, about 2.5 lakh were shifted from Ganjam district, where the cyclone made landfall at about 9 pm on October 12.
Ganjam's young collector Krishan Kumar said "It was hard to convince people in the coastal areas to move out. We started the evacuation process on October 11 at about 4 pm."
The eviction work were completed much before the cyclone's landfall, Kumar added.