Devastation Averted - How India Weathered Cyclone Phailin - LIVE CHAT
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Devastation Averted - How India Weathered Cyclone Phailin - LIVE CHAT

Date: Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Time: 9:00 -10:00 a.m. EDT (14:00 – 15:00 GMT or convert time)
Location: World Bank Headquarters and Online

The chat has concluded, replay the archive below.

Cyclone Phailin struck the coast of Odisha, India on Oct. 12. This category 4 cyclone, the size of Hurricane Katrina, bore down at wind speeds of over 200 km/hour. It was the strongest cyclone to hit the Indian coast in 14 years, and a comparable storm in 1999 had killed more than 10,000 people. Once the cyclone had passed, the country found out that only 38 people had died during the disaster event. This seemed almost miraculous.

And yet, this was no miracle. This was an effort of epic proportions in making sure the horrors of the 1999 cyclone would not be revisited. Close to a million people were evacuated. Evacuating a million people means you need to know where you will be housing them or sending them to safer locations inland. This requires years of contingency planning, setting up protocols and having clearly laid-out roles for everyone to follow, right down to the community volunteer levels. With World Bank support, the state has been investing in building cyclone shelters, creating evacuation routes, strengthening embankments, and conducting drills.

On Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 9 a.m. ET, Saurabh Dani, Project Leader of the India National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project discuss how India effectively responded to this most recent natural disaster, and what lessons can be learned for future generations.

Related Links:
Blog: Pulling the Tablecloth Out From Under Development Efforts - Without Breaking a Glass
Blog: Never Again! The Story of Cyclone Phailin
Story: Cyclone Devastation Averted: India Weathers Phailin
Blog: Disaster Will Strike Again

Replay the chat below!



Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist
Read what others are asking
Dr. Ashish Manohar Urkude
Congrats to Government of India for reducing the losses during and before the cyclone Phailin. However, when people watched the aftermath, they found that the people had nothing to stay and could not return back, as they had no shelter and living machinery. Hence, my question is, what is the future course of action for these cyclone affected people? Also, we've seen in Uttarakhand that some people are not willing to go back and stay at hills again. Is there any plan of government of India and the World Bank to reduce this fear psychosis among people affected? Also, it's high time we must plan no-living zones in India, where, we think there is chance of extreme disaster/s, is what I started feeling. This will also take care of Ecology as well, ex. Mangroves will be protected near sea; and the Hills and Forests will be protected in Himalayas, thus reducing the impact of future disasters. Do you agree to this, please?
What steps r being taken at country level to avert suc disasters and how do we keep poitics out of such initiatives. A good open to public early warning and accurate weather forecast is the need of hour. Such facilities to be made freely available on internet and public awareness created from school itself.
Dike Uzochukwu A.
goodday,please i want to know if on the process of this evacuation of people..where house built for them or was it like a shelter? 2....the cyclone,did it still pass from the same route it passed in 1999?
Shafqat sAwaN
Respected Sir.My question is that "does this cyclone produces only in indian sea near india, 0r also at any other sea or country? thanks.
amit sengupta
Hi Saurabh! My question for you is - How long should post disaster reconstruction work should be, to bring back communities back to normalcy?
Hari Kumar
I would think one needs to reword the title about 'India' weathering the Cyclone. I do not think other states of India, equally at risk (West Bengal for eg.) would have gotten away so cheaply even if the Govt. of India agencies played similar roles as in Phailin (IMDs prediction, support from NDRF etc). I think it was Odisha (Govt. , administrators, community) which made the difference. ? I think leadership at various levels played an important role. The vastly improved road , cyclone shelter and mobile phone network made a huge difference. I think this is where the World Bank funded National Cyclone Risk Mitigation project’s impact is showing impacts. One thing I would request the experts here to do is to bring out a comparative analysis between Phailin and Haiyan and how different the responses to the warnings were. What could have been done differently in Tacloban?
United States
What preventions and policies were in place at this time? And how can other countries learn from this in preventing damage to infrastructure as well as the actual people during these natural disasters? Are there any patterns within these environmental disasters, and why do you think each storm or disaster is worse than the last?
What role did geospatial technologies play in disaster mitigation plans?
Swati Mishra
United States
How important it is to factor in rehabilitation and resettlement of communities/people after a crisis/disaster? Going by evidence this is often overlooked or not handled appropriately.