Indian Journal of Forensic and Community Medicine


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Author Details: Gourikumari Padhy, Rabi Narayan Padhy, Sangeeta Das, Abhisek Mishra

Volume : 2

Issue : 1

Online ISSN : 2394-6776

Print ISSN : 2394-6768

Article First Page : 56

Article End Page : 63


On the evening of October 12, 2013 a very severe tropical cyclone, Phailin, brought damaging winds of more than 220 kilometres per hour (km/h), storm surges of up to 3.5 metres and torrential downpours to the eastern Indian states of Odisha. The impacts of Phailin and ensuing floods affected more than 13.2 million people, and caused enormous damage .The estimated total damage to houses, crops and public properties was 14373.47 crore. There was massive destruction of power supply system, communication and transportation system.

However, early warning alerts, disseminated four days before landfall of Phailin, allowed for the evacuation and relocation of approximately 1.2 million people, resulting in the largest evacuation operation in India in 23 years. A total of 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. A comparable cyclone, Cyclone 05B, hit Odisha in 1999 with winds of up to 260 km/h, but had a much more than 10,000 lives were lost. Early warning using multiple channels of communication and timely action saved lives during Phailin. Government cooperation, preparedness at the community level, and lessons learned from Cyclone 05B contributed to the successful evacuation operation, effective preparation activities and impact mitigation.
This event exhibits the importance, benefits and effectiveness of the use of early warning for a massive disaster. The lesson learnt from this event can act as a guide for development of plan for management of other similar disasters in future.

Key words: Cyclone phailin, Disaster preparedness