Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik Receives UN Commendation for Disaster Management
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has received the commendation of the United Nations for his “well-resourced disaster management authority”, which has time and again proved beneficial during calamitous times. Odisha, being a coastal state in eastern India, has often faced the wrath of cyclones and other perilous natural disasters.
Mami Mizoturi, Chief of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) highlighted that the state was a model example for others to learn and implement a well-planned disaster management strategy. He noted that Odisha, under CM Patnaik’s constant intervention, had invested in disaster risk governance, preparedness and scenario planning, all while spreading a greater understanding of disaster risk. He said, “Patnaik … has provided political commitment necessary to build a robust and well-resourced disaster management authority. In 1999, some 10,000 people died on Odisha coastline and that has never been repeated”.
This is not the first time that the Office of the Chief Minister has received such acclaim from an international organisation. The State Government has adopted several initiatives to ensure appropriate preparedness to handle any adversity. The state has appointed an administrator to the office of the Special Relief Commissioner, who oversees all operations pertaining to relief and rescue in the event of a disaster. It also established the Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) immediately after the 1999 Super Cyclone, which inflicted a huge toll on the state, both in terms of human lives lost as well as property damage.
The OSDMA was established much before the Disaster Management Act was passed in 2005, and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) was constituted in 2001. OSDMA was the first disaster management authority centre established in India, or perhaps the world, given its scale of operations.