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India: Rebuild to tame cyclones

Source(s):  Down To Earth

By Anumita Roychowdhury

As Odisha lies battered by the fury of cyclone Fani and limps back to normalcy from the devastating trail of the extremely severe cyclone, the state draws accolade for being disaster ready.


Fani is also the lasting reminder of how climate-resilient infrastructure is needed to reduce long-term costs of redevelopment and restoration. During intense storm surge vulnerable regions are susceptible to instantaneous damage to infrastructure. These regions need quick adoption of design standards to withstand storms, and adapt to high wind speed, heavy rain and flooding to reduce damage.

Indian Road Congress guidelines, which govern road design, are being revised for adoption of climate resilient guidelines for roads and drainage. This is considering resilient design standards and material for road infrastructure. Road-building will have to be aligned with improved drainage system. Street design, mobility alignment, and public transport will have to reflect special needs during climatic stress.

Design guidelines will also have to improve and augment drainage capacity and link it with water recharge and storage. Flood risk assessment and flood plain management must also be mandatory. Assessment of vulnerability can govern development along shore line and vulnerable areas to enhance protection and hedge risk.


Odisha has proven its emergency disaster preparedness. While 10,000 lives were lost in 1999 Super Cyclone, the tally this time is down to 34. Although the emergency response can be further strengthened to ensure zero deaths, there is also a need of urgent measures to build preventive and resilient buildings and infrastructure to minimise damages and cost of restoration. Climate-resilient development is not a choice any more but the only option.

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  • Publication date 06 May 2019

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