Background: On 12th Oct 2013 Cyclonic storm “Phailin” had caused heavy rainfall and massive flooding in Odisha (a state in India's eastern belt). It had affected more than 13.2 million people. The estimated cost of total damage was Rs. 14373.47 crore including devastation to houses, crops and public properties. The destruction to power supply system, communication system and transport system was of massive degree.
Objectives: To assess management of the cyclone “Phailin”.
Methodology: A cross sectional study was carried out for seven months in and around Berhampur city (the most affected area). Data were collected from primary and secondary sources.
Results: Evacuation and relocation of approximately 1.2 million people could had been possible due to early warning alerts, disseminated four days prior to landfall of Phailin, resulting in the largest evacuation operation of India in last 23 years. A total 21 lives were lost as a result of the cyclone and an additional 23 lives due to severe flash flooding in the aftermath of the cyclone.
Conclusion: A comparable cyclone, (Cyclone 05B) hit Odisha with wind speed of about 260 km/h, resulted in loss of more than 10,000 lives in 1999. Early warning using multiple channels of communication and timely action definitely saved many more lives during Phailin. Government cooperation, preparedness at the community level, and lessons learned from Cyclone 05B contributed collectively to the successful evacuation operation, effective preparation activities and impact mitigation. This event exhibits the importance and benefits of effective disaster management. The lesson learnt from this event can act as a guide in the development of plan for management of other similar disasters in future.
Key words: Disaster, Cyclone, and Management
Key message: With paradigm shift from reactive emergency management to proactive disaster risk reduction, there is more stress on pre-disaster interventions -prevention, mitigation and preparedness. While natural hazards cannot be prevented, measures can be initiated to prevent hazards becoming disasters by making the communities more resistant and resilient.