Chief Minister of Odisha Navin Patnaik was felicitated by United Nations on December 20 for exemplary evacuation operation ahead of Phailin, a severe cyclonic storm that hit Odisha (near Gopalpur) on 12th October 2013. Margareta Wahlstorm, special representative (disaster risk reduction) of UN Secretary-Genral Ban Ki Moon presented a citation to Patanaik at the state secretariat.
Odisha perhaps is the first state to get such felicitation from the UN. Patnaik dedicated this award to the people of Odisha very rightly. It may be noted that millions were evacuated ahead of Phailin due to which the causality was restricted only to 30 and that too due to some carelessness shown by some people who took shelter under trees.
But the government machineries really did an exemplary job in saving human lives. If compared to 1999 super-cyclone, which took more than 10000 lives as per official documents, the government’s preventive action is perhaps the best. The Odisha CM already won special jury award at India Today Conclave for excellent response act to the disaster.
IMD (Indian Meteorological Department) should also be given credit because, it was only their accurate estimation of the path and speed of Phailin that helped Odisha government to take necessary preventive measures.
Also the people of Odisha too responded very maturely and followed government instructions which resulted in safety of human lives in the face of one of the severest cyclonic storm amid powerful wind flowing at the speed of 200 km/hr which went up to up to 230 km/hr!