Efforts of Naveen Patnaik led BJD government with the support of the union government were successful in mitigating severe damages which were expected from the Cyclone Fani which was categorized as Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm according to IMD scale.
United Nations had also praised India for its successful execution of the preparedness policy in light of Cyclone Fani. “They seem to have done a very good job in terms of minimizing the possibility for loss of life,” Denis McClean, a spokesperson for the ODRR said at a UN news briefing in Geneva on Friday.
The Indian government’s “zero casualty” policy for cyclones and the pinpoint accuracy of the Indian Meteorological Department’s (IMD) early warning system have helped reduce the possibility of deaths from Cyclone Fani, according to the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (ODRR).
Disaster Management in case of Cyclone Fani is a shining example of coordination between state and central government in minimizing the loss of life and property, completely contrasting was the management during the Kerala Floods in 2018 under the current Chief Minister of the state Pinarayi Vijayan. Marred with political blame game and number of controversies relating to disaster management, floods in Kerala saw around 480 people losing their lives and more than 10 persons missing.
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan had accused the Modi government of creating hurdles in the wake of Kerala floods. Pinarayi Vijayan had hit out at the centre accusing them of discriminating against Kerala by denying permission to state ministers from going abroad to raise funds for flood relief works.
The amicus curiae appointed by the Kerala High Court in multiple cases related to the floods, in his report had highlighted that no proper follow-up action and effective precautionary steps, especially for evacuating people and accommodating them in safe locations, were taken despite sounding a red alert. One of these cases was by metro man E Sreedharan, who spearheaded the Delhi Metro project, alleging that the floods were a “man-made disaster”.
Pinarayi Vijayan had also claimed that UAE had proposed to provide an aid amount of Rs. 700 crore to the flood-stricken state. The Indian government had made it clear that it would not accept any foreign aid, what followed was a slander campaign against the centre for “handing out a raw deal to Kerala by announcing only Rs 600 crore package as against a demand of Rs 2,000 crore by the state government”. However, facts later emerged that no such official offer was made by the UAE. Controversy over usage of relief funds by church-based organizations had also marred the relief efforts.
Central ministries during the relief operations in Kerala had made available food, water and medicines, which include 300,000 food packets, 600,000 million tonnes of milk, 1,400,000 litres of drinking water, and 150 potable water purification kits with a capacity of 100,000 litres each. These were also complemented by coordinated efforts of several central agencies to address other issues.
As part of preparations for Cyclone Fani, around 1 million people were evacuated from low-lying areas to cyclone shelters, schools and other buildings, part of the preparedness. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) had sent 54 relief teams to flood-prone areas along the coast and stocked up food, water and medicine. Meanwhile, the Indian Navy, Air Force, Army and Coast Guard were on standby for relief operations. Two major ports — Paradip and Visakhapatnam — were also closed and ships ordered out to sea to avoid damage. Ahead of landfall Indian Railways was also running three special trains to remove pilgrims and tourists from Puri. All these efforts were coupled with periodic advisories for citizens
PM Narendra Modi, who is currently visiting the disaster-hit state, has also praised efforts of Naveen Patnaik government.
Modi had arrived in Bhubaneswar on Friday morning to conduct an aerial survey of the cyclone-hit areas along with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Governor Ganeshi Lal and union minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
Admiring the efforts of Naveen Patnaik, PM Modi said,”Naveen babu ne bohat acha plan kiya, Bharat sarkar usmein unke saath reh karke sari cheezon ko aage badha payegi.”
PM Modi praises state & district level workers, citizens including fishermen who worked in coordination reducing the death toll & destruction. "Naveen babu ney bohat accha kaam kia hai". Both centre &state will work together with man machinery and money for relief n restoration. pic.twitter.com/5njJrFefqW
— Smita Prakash (@smitaprakash) May 6, 2019
The stark difference in disaster management and meek attempts to play politics over the lives of citizens just displays the disgusting mindset that lurks in the top brass of the communist leaders in Kerala, where personal politics seems to have trumped safety of citizens. However, at the same time, the success of mitigation and relief efforts during Cyclone Fani is sure set a positive precedent for India in combating future natural disaster challenges.