UN praises India for preparations over Cyclone Fani.

The Indian government’s “zero casualty” policy for cyclones and the pinpoint accuracy of the meteorological department’s early warning system have helped reduce the possibility of deaths from Cyclone Fani, according to the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (ODRR). “They seem to have done a very good job in terms of minimising the possibility for loss of life”, Denis McClean, a spokesperson for ODRR said at a UN news briefing in Geneva on Friday. “The almost pinpoint accuracy of the warnings, the early warnings from the Indian Meteorological Department, allows them to conduct a very well targeted evacuation plan which resulted in 1.1 million people mainly moving to about 900 cyclone shelters”, he said. As of Saturday morning less than10 deaths had been reported from the 175-kmph cyclone that hit Odisha on Friday. India’s policy of minimising fatalities from cyclones has been proved by past performances as in Cyclone Phailin in 2013, when “famously the casualty rate was kept to as low as 45 despite the intensity of the storm”, McClean said. Clare Nullis, a spokesperson for the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), said that as a result of the lessons learned from the Super Cyclonic Storm BOB06 that caused more than 10,000 deaths, intensive precautions are being taken to protect the people. She also mentioned how as a result, Phailin’s fatalities were far less than in 1999. UN’s humanitarian agencies have met ahead of Cyclone Fani to take stock of preparedness measures, Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at a briefing in New York. The UN’s relief organisations’ resources are already stretched bringing aid to countries in East Africa reeling from a double punch delivered by Cyclones Idai and Kenneth in the past two months.

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