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Not cyclone, Odisha tops in heat wave hazard

| | BHUBANESWAR | in Bhubaneswar

This is a diabolic revelation of sort as Odisha pipped States like Rajasthan, Delhi, Punjab, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh to emerge at the top one with the highest heat wave index. Heat wave is the topmost natural hazard the State now stares at. Despite ravaged by the likes of the 1999 Super Cyclone and Phailin, cyclone is only second to heat wave in the hazard parameter in the State. Even, in the cyclone hazard index, Odisha finished second to West Bengal.

However, overall, including earthquake, landslide, tsunami, cold wave, coastal erosion, forest fire, industrial hazard, floods, etc., Odisha was ranked the fourth-most hazards-prone State with a score value of 3.80. Odisha is only behind West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Such a conspicuous change in climatic phenomenon in Odisha was brought to the fore recently by the Composite Hazard Index (CHI) formulated by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs along with the UNDP.

As per the CHI, Odisha with a value of 6.95 topped in the country in the heat wave index calculated on factors like average heat index of districts on the basis of temperature and humidity using the NOAA methodology; number of districts with average heat index over 54; number of districts coming under heat wave spell for more than five days; ane longest duration of heat wave in districts. Odisha is followed by UP.

Another big takeaway for Odisha is though in the lightning hazard index Odisha ranked third after Chhattisgarh and Telangana but in lightning deaths Odisha topped in the country for three consecutive years from 2015 to 2017.

Also, drought emerged as a greater hazard than floods in Odisha. The CHI assigned a value of 4.34 for droughts vis-a-vis 2.37 for flood hazard to Odisha. It recorded higher value in drought hazard for recording low moisture index, un-irrigated crop area, drought-prone areas and number of drought years. Odisha figured sixth nationally in the coastal erosion index, reveals the CHI.

However, in the composite vulnerability index, Odisha is placed better at a distant 11th. But a disconcerting fact is Odisha figured among top-10 States where women and children were more vulnerable to natural hazards.

While it figured at 8th in women vulnerability, it was ranked 7th to fare poorer in child vulnerability. The poor show by the State is attributed to indicators like crimes against women, fewer women-led households, poor sex ratio, high unemployment among women and maternal mortality rate. Odisha also figured at 10th in the disability vulnerable index.

Significantly, the State’s disaster-prone districts’ lower population density and per capita GDP saw it occupying a decent rank of 15 in the composite exposure index nationally. But, overall, in the disaster risk

Index, Odisha is ranked 11th. Despite the 4th hazard-prone, Odisha’s 11th rank in the disaster risk index is attributed to lower vulnerability, exposure indices.

However, in the all-important parameter of a State’s resilience to disasters, Odisha posted better show to grab 6th rank with a score of 41.7. Gujarat is the leader with a score of 49.3.

But improvement scope is still galore as Odisha fared poorer than Tripura in disaster preparedness, poorer than West Bengal in disaster response, poorer than Assam and Tripura in risk governance.

Notably, Odisha fared poorer than Bihar, Kerala and West Bengal in disaster risk prevention and mitigation as it failed to provision State budgetary fund for prevention and mitigation purposes.

 
 
 
 
 

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