Almost 6,800 natural disasters occur every year Worldwide, killing roughly 68,000 people. Bharat is the second-largest country after China which is most hit by floods affecting 345 million people every year. The highly flood-prone states in Bharat are Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Kerala, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, due to the rivers like Brahmaputra, Ganga and, Yamuna.
Odisha was once one of the most flood-prone states in Bharat. Whereas, today the disaster management model of Odisha is an extensive example of the flood-prone states of Bharat. The 482 km long coastline area of Odisha and the home of 4.6 crore people, along the Bay of Bengal. And the rivers Mahanadi, Subarnarekha, Brahmani, Baitarani, Rushikulya, Vansadhara, and their tributaries and their branches flowing through the state are the attraction for the floods. From 1960 to 2008 the districts of Odisha have seen many critical floods causing adverse damage and loss to the state.
The floods of 1980, 1982, 2001, and 2003 are the most severe floods till now damaging properties worth crore. The floods also brought destruction to the lives of people, livestock, and farming. Where 85% of Odisha’s livelihood depends on agriculture and 33,400 sq. km area which is almost 20% of the state is subjected to flood-prone areas.
In 2008, the Odisha government brought up a Flood Control System which consists of two parts – one structural and another non-structural. The structural part combines constructing reservoir, flood control embankment, and river training work whereas the non-structural part combines real-time forecast, advanced awareness to the low land areas, active response, and community participation.
Like Hirakud Dam in the banks of Mahanadi has been constructed for flood control, also provides irrigation to Sambalpur, Bargah and Sonepur, and generate electricity. Rengali Dam across the Brahmani river covering 25,250 sq. km to control flood in the Brahmani delta. Iccha and Chandil Dam across the Subarnarekha with the joint effort of Jharkhand and Odisha, and with a three-way agreement with West Bengal, Jharkhand and Odisha . The dams and barrages constructed alone the Baitarani river and its tributaries control flood to the areas near the Baitarani river provide irrigation to 61,920 hector area. And the upper Kolab dam and Indravati dam on the river Kolab and Indravati plays a very important role in controlling flood in the Koraput, Nowrangpur, Malkangiri Districts.
Odisha has 6515 km of embankment constructed on both sides of the rivers to avoid flood in the deltaic areas. In addition to that 1952 spurs and 253 km have been constructed and stone packed. The embankment has been constructed in the deltaic area of Mahanadi, in the downstream areas of Rengali Dam, in the deltaic area of Baitarani, in the deltaic area of Subarnarekha river, and Rushikulya, Budhabalanga, Vamsadhara area.
Non-structural measures proposed by the Odisha government are flood-fighting preparedness, flood data observation river, reservoir and situation report, issue of flood forecast and warning, flood watching and fighting, relief and rescue operations.
A natural disaster is among those activities which don’t hear anyone or let anyone know their presence. Neither it is in anyone’s control nor anyone can dismiss it. The aftermath of a natural disaster is fearful, painful, and destructive. Somewhere, at least all we can do is take steps to avoid the maximum destruction caused by the natural disaster like Odisha disaster management did.