How Odisha disaster force is showing maximum results?

The Odisha government’s years of investment in capacity building and procuring state-of-the art equipment to handle disasters paid off in the rescue operation in recent train accident in Balasore district. About Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF):
  • It is first of its kind agency in the country, predating the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) that was set up in 2006.
  • The ODRAF is now the frontline responder in any disaster in Odisha, which has its fair share of them, as well as outside the state.
  • The ODRAF-led teams were credited for ensuring that human casualties were kept to the minimum during extremely severe cyclones in recent years in Odisha, including Phailin in 2013, Titli in 2018 and Fani in 2019, with millions evacuated from seaside areas.
Why Odisha is focusing on disaster management?
  • Odisha, on the east coast of India, is highly prone to natural disasters due to its proximity to the Bay of Bengal.
  • The annual cyclonic disturbances are known to cause heavy rains and floods in the state.
  • The massive destruction due to super cyclone in October 1999 expo of the civic authorities in responding to crisis situation during disasters.
  • Even at national level, India did not have a committed agency to guide the state on relief and reconstruction activities.
  • Therefore, as an aftermath, the Odisha Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) in December 1999.
  • Till 2008, the OSDMA was known as Odisha Disaster Mitigation Authority.
The OSDMA is responsible for the overall disaster management in the state. Its objective is not only to minimize the impact of natural/man-made disaster but also to coordinate relief, reconstruction, restoration efforts.
 Disaster management Act 2005
  • The DM Act was passed by the government of India in 2005 for the ‘efficient management of disasters and other matters connected to it’. However it came into force in January 2006.
  • Objective:
    • To manage disasters, including preparation of mitigation strategies, capacity-building and more.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA): It is tasked with laying down disaster management policies and ensuring timely and effective response mechanisms.
    • Definition of a “disaster” in Section 2 (d) of the DM Act states that a disaster means a “catastrophe, mishap, calamity or grave occurrence in any area, arising from natural or manmade causes”.
 Stages in Disaster Management in India:
  • Disaster Management efforts are geared towards disaster risk management.
  • Disaster Risk Management implies the systematic process of using administrative decisions, organisation, operational skills, and capacities to implement policies, strategies and coping capacities of the society and communities to lessen the impact of natural hazards and related environmental and technological disasters.
  • These comprise all forms all activities including structural and non- structural measures to avoid (prevention) or to limit (mitigation and preparedness) adverse effects of hazards.
  • There are three key stages of activities in disaster management:
    • Before a disaster: to reduce the potential for human, material, or environmental losses caused by hazards and to ensure that these losses are minimised when disaster strikes;
    • During a disaster: to ensure that the needs and provisions of victims are met to alleviate and minimise suffering; and
    • After a disaster: to achieve rapid and durable recovery which does not reproduce the original vulnerable conditions.
  • The different phases of disaster management are represented in the disaster cycle diagram.
Challenges in Disaster Risk Reduction:
  • There are insufficient levels of implementation for each monitored activity. For example, Disaster risk management plans or a risk sensitive building codes exist but they are not enforced because of a lack of government capacity or public awareness.
  • There is lack of local capacities to implement disaster risk management. Weak capacity at the local levels undermines the implementation Disaster preparedness plans.
  • Absence of integration of climate change into Disaster risk management plans.
  • There is divergence of obtaining political and economic commitments due to other competing needs and priorities such as poverty reduction, social welfare, education etc. require greater attention and funding.
  • Due to poor coordination between stakeholders, there is inadequate access with respect to risk assessment, monitoring, early warning, disaster response and other Disaster related activities.

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