In Odisha, Doomsday Prep Paid Off

Before Cyclone Fani pummeled one of India’s poorest states on Friday, authorities in Odisha deployed everything they had.

2.6 million texts, 43,000 volunteers, 1,000 emergency workers, sirens, TV commercials, a 5-page action plan. The messaging was simple and relentless: “A cyclone is coming. Get to the shelters,” The New York Times reports.

33 people were killed, Reuters reports—but a million were moved to safety.

This laudable achievement was 20 years in the making. In 1999 a massive cyclone killed thousands in the area—and Odisha wasn't about to let it happen again. Hundreds of shelters were built after that storm and last week as Fani approached, authorities watched closely.

“Every small cyclone or tsunami teaches you how to deal with the bigger ones,” said one Odisha official. “If you don’t learn from the past experiences, you will drown.”

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