It was felt that number of deaths were more in the affected areas during the Super Cyclone due to non-availability of safe shelter buildings in the coastal villages, which could have withstood the intensity of the cyclone and the storm surge. Only 23 cyclone shelters were constructed by Indian Red Cross before the super cyclone, wherein about 42000 people took shelter and saved their life. In the aftermath of the Super cyclone 1999, Government of Orissa decided to construct multipurpose cyclone shelters along the Orissa coast to provide safe shelters to the vulnerable people during floods and cyclones.
The locations were identified through a scientific survey conducted by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur with two major postulates i.e. No person will have to travel more than 2.25 km to get a safe shelter and without crossing a natural Barrier. The building is designed to withstand wind speed up to 300 kmph and moderate earthquakes. Its plinth is above High Flood line (HFL) and standing on a stilted floor, it can remain unaffected in storm surge up to the 1st floor level.
So far, 203 multipurpose cyclone shelters, including 65 by Indian Red Cross Society have been constructed in coastal districts of Orissa and have been handed over to the community based Cyclone Shelter Management and Maintenance Committees (CSMMC). 52 flood shelters of similar design are being constructed in 9 flood prone districts out of Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.
Community members have been trained in Search & Rescue and First aid techniques and all types of equipment have been supplied to the shelters. Basic Training on Shelter Management has been given to the CSMMC members of all cyclone shelters and 50 volunteers of shelter based Disaster Management Teams, per shelter have been given training on First Aid and Search & Rescue techniques (25 volunteers in each category per shelter) in collaboration with St John Ambulance and Civil Defense Organization respectively.
Each cyclone shelter has been provided with 32 types of sophisticated equipment required for disaster management including power saw, siren, free kitchen utensils, flexi water tank, solar light, stretcher, life buoy and life jacket, inflatable tower light, generator, and, etc., To review preparedness and to practice the skills learnt, mock drills are being organized in collaboration with National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in all cyclone shelters on 19th June every year. The CSMMCs have been instructed to register under Indian Registration Act, 1860 and funds @ Rs.50000/- each have been provided to the registered CSMMCs as Corpus fund for management and maintenance of the building.