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Kerala’s first cyclone shelter at Mararikulam

14 such shelters to be built in different parts of State to accommodate people safely

Kerala was relatively safe from cyclones until recently. However, in November 2017 Cyclone Ockhi wreaked havoc in the southern districts of the State and claimed a number of lives. In the following years, the State was again threatened by cyclones Gaja and Maha, to name a few. Although not many cyclones ravaged the State as strong as Ockhi, Kerala has become vulnerable to cyclones.

Like early prediction and issuing a warning to people, it is equally important to accommodate people safely at the time of natural calamities.

To be ready by Dec.

Mooted a few years ago, the State’s first cyclone shelter is getting ready at Mararikulam in Alappuzha district. Officials said that the facility would be made functional by December end.

“We are currently constructing 14 cyclone shelters in different parts of the State. We hope to open the facility at Mararikulam and Kasaragod soon. Tenders will be invited soon for two other shelters in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode. Apart from shelters, we will be setting up early warning systems consisting of sirens and lightings in coastal areas at a cost of ₹66 crore as part of the project,” Sekhar L. Kuriakose, member secretary, Kerala State Disaster Management Authority, told The Hindu.

Once completed, the shelter at Mararikulam will have all facilities to accommodate around 1,000 people at a time. It consists of halls, kitchens, ramp for the differently abled, toilet blocks and generator. The three-storey shelter is being built by the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority under the National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project (NCRMP) of the Union government at a cost of ₹3.53 crore. Facility for landing of helicopters will also be set up.

“It is basically a cyclone shelter. However, it can be used for a certain period of time during floods, coastal erosion and other natural calamities,” Mr. Kuriakose said.

Lack of response

Though 28 such shelters were originally planned across the State, the number was reduced to 16 due to the lack of response on the part of some local bodies. The project is funded by the World Bank and State government on a 75:25 basis.

The Kudumbashree Mission has been appointed caretaker of the Mararikulam facility.

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