‘Youth and Disaster Management’ is this year’s theme for the Odisha Disaster Preparedness Day that is observed in memory of victims of Super Cyclone that ravaged the State in 1999

The State government on Tuesday announced to train 10,000 college students in disaster management as part of its larger capacity development programme for tackling disasters.

Addressing State-level observance of the Odisha Disaster Preparedness Day and the National Day for Disaster Reduction here, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said, “In all, 10,000 student volunteers from 100 colleges will be given basic training in disaster management skills by the Odisha State Disaster Management Authority.”

‘Youth and Disaster Management’ is this year’s theme for the Odisha Disaster Preparedness Day, which is observed in memory of the victims of the Super Cyclone that ravaged the State on this day in 1999.

“We have to further update our preparedness and increase our capacities. About 42 per cent of our population is in the 13-35 age group. Younger people can play an important role in disaster management. They are our strength,” Mr. Patnaik said.

The Chief Minister said, “We have faced the current disaster boldly and effectively. The super cyclone of 1999 had claimed about 10,000 valuable human lives. However, due to our extensive preparedness, we have been able to minimise human casualties during Phailin and the successive floods.”

Earlier, Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Surya Narayan Patro said this year’s observance of Odisha Disaster Preparedness Day assumed significance in wake of three back-to-back disasters faced by the State.

Very severe cyclonic storm Phailin hit Odisha on October 12 followed by major floods in many rivers. Heavy rainfall from October 21 due to another low pressure in the Bay of Bengal increased the sufferings. The storm along with associated floods and continuous rains severely affected people in 18 districts.

Community response

Speaking on the occasion, J.K. Mohapatra, Chief Secretary, said, “This year’s highlight is spontaneous community response. Earlier, community used to take warnings very light. This year, the government’s warning played out by the media worked very well. The community prepared itself very well, which is the most important achievement in disaster management.”

Among others, Sports and Youth Services Minister Ramesh Chandra Majhi and Additional Chief Secretaries I. Srinivas and Taradatt spoke.