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Technology, A Force Multiplier In Mitigating Disasters In Odisha

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18 July 2019

Debashish Maharana

Bhubaneswar: For a state like Odisha, which is vulnerable to natural calamities, technology has been the major force multiplier for preparedness to combat disasters.

Today, the State Government's machineries including Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA), districts' administration, police and various emergency services departments are equipped with high-tech gadgets.

These include - 14 Satellite based mobile data voice terminals (SBMDVT), 199 digital mobile radio and 122 siren towers.

Besides, the State Emergency Operation Centre, functioning from the Special Relief Commissioner's office has a fully operational mass messaging system, Revenue and Disaster Management Minister, Sudam Marndi said today.

The minister was responding to a question posed by MLA Ashwini Kumar Patra on 'use of technology in disaster mitigation', during the second phase of monsoon session of Odisha Legislative Assembly.

"During FANI, with the help of mass messaging system total 1.80 crore SMSs were sent to people living in the vulnerable areas. The same system is being used to alert people on lightning strikes which help us save precious lives," Marndi added.

The state government has purchased 58 satellite phones which are being used for communication during natural disasters when the mobile and landline networks are hit, he said.

OSDMA in collaboration with Earth Networks, USA has installed lightning detection sensors in six districts which can predict and alert on lightning strikes in an area, 30 to 40 minutes before the event.

The information (lightning prediction) is processed on GIS platform in OSDMA and the geographic coordinates of the probable area of lightning strike is communicated to the state emergency operations centre for sending SMS alerts to the people of that area through Location Based Alert System (LBAS).

The SMS alerts are sent through LBAS to the people who are present in the area likely to be affected by the lightning strike. The entire operations from receipt of the information from earth networks till despatch of the SMSes are completed in 2-3 minutes.

OSDMA has collaborated with the Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Africa and Asia (RIMES), Thailand for developing an integrated Decision Support System (DSS).

The DSS has been named - 'SATARK' or the System for Accessing, Tracking and Alerting Disaster Risk Information Based on Dynamic Risk Knowledge, the Minister added.