TCIL devised EWDS (Early Warning Dissemination System) was successful in minimising loss of life and numbers of affected people to a minimum during Odisha cyclone FANI.
FANI, a category 4 (extremely severe cyclone) in the Bay of Bengal was one of the strongest cyclones to have hit India in the last 20 years. Cyclone Fani hit the Odisha coast in Puri district with a wind speed of around 175 kmph causing widespread destruction. Around 18,168 villages with nearly 1,65,30,900 people were affected, 50,8467 houses are damaged and yet the human casualty reported so far was only 64, considering the severity of the cyclone could have been much higher.
A record 1.2 million people (equal to the population of Mauritius) were evacuated in less than 48 hours, and almost 7,000 kitchens, catering to 9,000 shelters, were made functional overnight. This mammoth exercise involved more than 45,000 volunteers.
EWDS is an effective service to predict accurate timings of cyclone formation in the Bay of Bengal and also predicts when the cyclone will make landfall along India’s coastline. This early warning system enabled Odisha to be disaster ready and also minimised loss of lives.
Major technologies used in the EWDS system are: Alert Tower Siren System, Digital Mobile Radio (DMR), Mass Messaging System which include Group Based Alert SMS (GBAS) system and Location Based Alert SMS system (LBAS), Satellite communication (Satellite Based Mobile Data Voice Terminals) and Universal Communication Interface (UCI).
TCIL began work on Odisha in 6 coastal districts, 22 coastal blocks, 122 multi-purpose cyclone shelters (MPCS) locations. Warnings to the coastal communities were disseminated by using alert sirens and location based text messages (sms) which helped the people to move to safer places before and thereby drastically contained the number of casualties.