The Odisha state government is all set to commission the ambitious Early Warning Dissemination System (EWDS) that would set off a warning in the event of the occurrence of natural disasters like a tsunami or cyclone by July 2017.
Just a single button press from the control room in the state’s capital would trigger loud sirens to go off simultaneously from towers at 122 locations, warning the vast population residing along the state’s 480 km-long coast of the impending disaster.
Speaking on the development, Pradipta Mohapatra, Managing Director of the Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA), stated that the sound emanating from the towers would be heard in localities up to a radius of 1.5 km and as many as 122 alert towers have already been constructed.
• The towers have been installed in 22 blocks under six coastal districts such as Balasore, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Puri and Ganjam.
• The chosen locations include tourist destinations, fish landing centres and coastal habitations.
• The new system will enable authorities to alert people in smaller pockets, depending on the severity of the disaster.
• The system would come in handy when the authorities need to disseminating a tsunami alert, especially in the dead of the night.
• It would enable people to start moving to safer places before the government agencies commence the evacuation process.
• A protocol, which will be developed in due course of time, will help people understand the gravity of situation depending on the number of sirens that would go off from towers.
• The project is being implemented with assistance from the World Bank, at an estimated cost of ₹ 82 crore.
• The EWDS comprises technologies like Satellite-Based Mobile Data Voice Terminals, Digital Mobile Radio, Mass Messaging System and Universal Communication Interface for inter-operability among different communication technologies.
Odisha is the first State in India to have developed an automatic public address system that can be activated along its entire coast.Neighbouring state Andhra Pradesh is also reportedly developing such system to alert the people in case of natural calamities.
At present, authorities handling disasters depend on meteorological prediction and since it has improved considerably, they are able to know the intensity of cyclones two to three days in advance.