Disasters are inevitable phenomena in today’s time and age. While disasters may not be the necessary result of hazards, more often they occur when these hazards intersect with the environment, particularly inappropriate location, inadequate infrastructural development and lack of capacity building of communities to deal with the disaster. Since the ability of the built environment to withstand the impacts of hazards plays a direct role in determining the casualties and monetary costs of disasters, it is important to reduce the vulnerabilities within the built environment and enhance its capacity for disaster mitigation and reconstruction to achieve resilience to disasters.
India with a coastline of 7516 kms. is vulnerable to cyclones of varying intensities. HUDHUD a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm (VSCS) hit the east coast at Vishakhapatnam on 12th Oct, 2014. Although it was not the most severe cyclone that hit the Indian coast, however, it has been the most devastating one in recent times which made landfall in an urban area. Its ‘eye’, lay exactly over the city causing tremendous loss to life, property and natural resources. However the human casualties were restricted to the minimum. This can be attributed to the sustained preparedness and mitigation measures undertaken in the past, and effective and timely response initiated by Central Government and State Government(s), right from the early warning stage.
NDMA deputed a team to visit the HUDHUD affected districts of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha to have first hand information on the good practices followed and to identify gaps and lessons learnt for better preparedness, pre-event mitigation and response/relief operations, to prepare better for future cyclonic events.
The report prepared by NDMA is an effort to document “good practices” and “identify various issues” which may need to be considered for effective and coordinated response for cyclone disaster risk management. This document takes into account the efforts made by the States of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha in managing Cyclone Hudhud in 2014. I hope that the findings and recommendations discussed in this document will assist all cyclone prone states of the country to strengthen preparedness and risk reduction efforts for coordinated response to cyclones in future in India.