Hudhud Puts Spotlight on Improved Contingency Plans
NEW DELHI: The reduced death toll in Hudhud, which left 21 people dead, compared to the nearly 10,000 deaths caused by the 1999 super cyclone that pumelled Odisha, revealed the tremendous improvements in the country’s preparedness to deal with a natural calamity of this scale.
Officials, however, feel that the management of flash flood incidents like the ones in Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand continue to remain a challenge due to shorter window for warning and evacuation.
When it comes to preparedness for Hudhud, they credited the excellent coordination among all arms of the government for successfully carrying out rescue and relief work.
About 500 scientists belonging to various wings of the IMD worked round-the-clock since October 7 to collect observations, study, model and prepare accurate forecast of the route, wind velocity and landfall of Hudhud. Apart from issuing forecasts every three hours, a team of scientists led by IMD’s cyclone warning division head M Mahapatra was also coordinating with the Cabinet Secretariat, Home Ministry, state governments and disaster management teams, among others.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also did his bit to ensure the rescue and relief preparedness. Modi, who will be visiting Vishakhapatnam on Tuesday to take stock of the situation, held a high-level meeting to review the rescue and relief operation on Monday.
The PM was briefed on the extent of destruction, including the damage to infrastructure such as roads, railway lines, buildings and power and telecommunication lines. An overview of the status of relief operations and steps taken to ensure supply of essential commodities, including food, potable water and fuel, was given to him.
Modi has instructed top Central officials to continue to work closely with the affected states to ensure that there were no bottlenecks in the relief and rescue work. He also stressed the need to document lessons learnt from the cyclone and to put in place more precise drills and disaster management plans involving all stakeholders, especially in areas which are prone to such disasters.
The IMD has been receiving accolades from across the country for successfully handling the task, with many students writing to IMD head L S Rathore showing their interest in joining the department. The IMD was blamed by authorities for failing to provide accurate update of rains during the Uttarakhand and J&K floods. “Our preparedness, both technologically and management wise, for handling cyclone has improved much in the past one decade, but you cannot compare it to the preparedness to meet flash floods. Forecast for rain-induced flash floods can be given three to six hours before while in the case of cyclone its four to five days,” said a visibly tired Rathore.
2k-strong K’taka team to power ap
Bangalore: The Karnataka Government has decided to send a contingent of 2,000 men with equipment to restore power supply and speed up relief work in cyclone-hit Andhra Pradesh, which had requested state’s help to tide over crisis.