Shelter management during pandemics: lessons from cascading risks of cyclones and COVID-19

Sujit Mohanty, Ambika Dabral, Ranit Chatterjee, Rajib Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: The concept of multi-purpose cyclone shelters has been found effective in saving various lives during past cyclones. The recent cyclone Amphan, which hit the Indian states of Odisha and West Bengal in the middle of pandemic COVID-19 has posed severe issues related to cyclone shelter management in the rural areas. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the case of Odisha in a pandemic and draw some key lessons of cyclone shelter management, which can be useful for future cascading risks in other parts of the country and the region. Design/methodology/approach: Cyclone shelters are critical infrastructures in the management of cyclones, associated hazards and saving crucial lives. The effective management of shelters during emergencies is dependent on the existing institutional mechanism, local stakeholders and their understanding of the key functions of the emergency shelters. This paper reviews the key challenges through literature, reports and direct interviews of field professionals and practitioners. Findings: In normal times, cyclone shelters are used as schools and their management lies with the local communities and/or elected bodies. Some of the key emerging issues include: the convincing population at risk for evacuation with proper care, existing emergency shelters being repurposed as COVID-19 facilities, need for hygiene and safety material, special arrangement and segregation of population at higher risk of COVID-19 and large destruction of social infrastructures. Originality/value: During cascading disasters, adaptive governance becomes important. With the study of cyclones during the pandemic period, the paper draws key decision-making and governance points of cyclone shelter management. This case analysis can be useful to other similar situations during the prolonged pandemic time.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Cascading risk
  • COVID-19
  • Critical infrastructures
  • Cyclone amphan
  • Cyclone shelter management
  • Early warning system
  • Shelter management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality

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