OSDMA focuses on protection from lightning, thunderstorm

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Bhubaneswar: After setting global benchmarks in cyclone and flood management, Odisha Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) has now turned its focus towards protection from lightning and thunderstorm.

This was deliberated in Governing Body meeting of the Authority held under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi in secretariat conference hall today wherein Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Bishnupada Sethi outlined the issues and placed proposals for consideration.

Considering the proposals, the Governing Body decided to fix lightning arresting systems in multipurpose shelters buildings and strengthen the outdoor lightning alert system. Chief Secretary Padhi directed to expedite implantation of these projects. Padhi also directed to integrate the early warning dissemination system (EWDS), already operationalized in 6 costal districts with all telecom service providers including BSNL.

Further, it was decided to utilize the services of Apada Mitra volunteers in costal districts to help and assist the community for disaster preparedness and response. In the first phase, 400 such volunteers will be engaged. Chief Secretary Padhi directed to complete training of these volunteers by end of the current month. It was decided to upscale the scheme in other flood prone districts of the State.

SRC Sethi appraised that multipurpose shelters operating in 25 districts would be retrofitted with lightning protection system. In the first phase 640 shelters would be taken up with funding support from World Bank under National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project. As per preliminary estimate around Rs.17 cr would be invested in the project. The remaining 239 multipurpose shelters would be taken up in phases.

Further, Sethi said, “OSDMA in collaboration with USA based firm “Earth Networks” has installed six lightning detection sensors in different parts of the State. The system gives prediction of the lightning about 30 to 45 minutes in advance”.  Map based lightning alerts are provided. It was decided to install more alert systems in 14 most lighting prone blocks of the State on pilot basis. The system would specify the exact location of the lightning and storm and provide automatic warning through sirens. The siren would be audible to a distance of one kilometre radius.

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