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Disasters: Odisha, RIMES join hands to strengthen early warning system

Bhubaneswar, June 29, 2018: The Odisha government on Friday signed a MoU with the Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (RIMES) for enhancing early warning system for effective management of all kinds of disasters in the State, including flood, drought, heat wave, lightning, and road accidents. 

The State Government is aiming to integrate new generation digital algorithm-based technologies and best practices from 48 RIMES member countries of Asia, Africa and the Pacific to Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA).

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) in was signed by Disaster Management Secretary and OSDMA Managing Director Bishnupada Sethi and A R Subbiah of RIMES in the presence of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in Bhubaneswar, Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Maheswar Mohanty, Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi, Agriculture Production Commissioner (APC) Gagan Kumar Dhal, Principal Secretary and Secretaries of various departments, along with other senior officials were present during signing of the MoU.

Odisha is vulnerable to natural disasters like cyclone, flood, tsunami and drought. In the recent past, increasing number of deaths due to lightning, heat wave and road accidents has been a major concern for the State Government.

As the Chief Minister always lays emphasis on zero casualties for all disasters, the State Government has taken up various initiatives for strengthening the early warning systems by implementing latest technologies and building partnerships with international agencies to curb the rising number of deaths due to low-intensity, high-frequency disasters and protect livelihoods from losses due to slow-onset disasters like drought.

The MoU could bring a shift from “What Weather Will Be” to "What Weather Will Do” Risk Based Early Warning system into OSDMA’s operations.

This MoU will enable development and pilot implementation of decision support systems that will make seamless use of weather and climate information at three days, ten days, one month, and three months into the future, sourced from India Meteorological Department (IMD) for automating risk assessment and advisory generation and dissemination.

These tools will be built with open-source software platforms and public domain data sets, with full involvement of OSDMA and its line departments and collaborating agencies.

These integration systems will be capable of crunching terabytes of national, regional and global data sets, in real-time, using state-of-the-art big data analytics to generate operational decision support derivatives to be rendered through user-friendly interfaces to end-of-line EOC managers to prepare and respond to hazards.

Initially, the agreement will in force for five years with a cost involvement of about Rs 8 crore.

RIMES and OSDMA collaboration will contribute to global efforts targeted to substantially increase the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems as articulated in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 with strong endorsement of the value of early warning systems as a part of a broader disaster risk reduction strategy and disaster risk reduction and resilience agenda embedded in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

RIMES is a UN registered international and inter-governmental institution, owned and managed by its 48 members and collaborating states for building capacities in the generation and application of user-relevant early warning information.

In India, it has collaborated with the Tamil Nadu government through establishment of a long-term collaborative program to enhance early warning system for all natural hazards.

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