Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government`s success in minimising the devastation caused by Cyclone Phailin which struck Odisha in early October came in for UN recognition.
Margareta Wahlstrom, a special representative of the UN Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction, on Friday presented a citation to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at the secretariat appreciating his government`s efforts.
The citation was given in recognition of the state`s act of timely evacuation of people prior to the calamity, she said, adding the UN would highlight Odisha`s model in the international conference on disaster management in 2015.
To a query on heavy casualty in the Phillipines which was struck by a typhoon despite early warning, Wahlstrom said the people had failed to properly understand the importance of the alert, whereas people in Odisha acted promptly, learning from the experience of the 1999 Super Cyclone.
While Odisha has a number of cyclone shelters built after the 1999 disaster, Philippines lack such facilities.
India (Odisha) is the first country in South East Asia to be felicitated for disaster management by the UN.
The UN representative invited Patnaik to attend the international conference to be held in Japan.
Accepting the UN recognition, Patnaik said, "The citation is in fact an appreciation of the people of Odisha for their courage, resilience and fortitude in the face of grave natural calamities like Phailin this year."
Patnaik thanked the meteorological department for its accurate prediction of the storm that played a major role in preparedness.
"We want to prepare a long-term disaster risk reduction plan and climate change action plan for our state and we are now poised to implement it in the coming years," Patnaik said.
Cyclone Phailin, which hit the state on October 12, left a mere 21 people dead while as many as 9,885 people had died in the Super Cyclone in 1999.
The state government had evacuated as many as 9,83,553 people from the coast before cyclone?s landfall on October 12. Of the 9.83 lakh people evacuated from coastal districts, about 2.5 lakh were shifted to safe places in Ganjam district.
The UN team led by Wahlstrom is scheduled to visit worst Phailin hit Ganjam district tomorrow, official sources said.