Bhubaneswar: To help smooth evacuation of persons having physical difficulties during calamities, the Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) has decided to set up a special cell for persons with disabilities.

The decision in this regard was taken at a meeting chaired by OSDMA managing director B P Sethi and attended by civil society organisations and officials of the department of Social Security and Empowerment of Persons with Disability on Tuesday.

"The cell will operate at the OSDMA taking into consideration the special needs and vulnerability of the persons with disabilities and mainstreaming their needs into disaster management," Sethi said.

He said the cell would look into special needs of persons with disability during evacuation, search, rescue operations, rehabilitation and resettlement during natural calamities like flood and cyclone.

The cell will make networking with both the government and private organisations and prepare a data base of persons with disabilities and organisations in the state working with such persons and prepare plans accordingly, he said.

It was also decided that all the multipurpose cyclone and flood shelters would be made disable friendly by the cell

The meeting also resolved that the evacuation and search and rescue response forces like ODRAF, NDRF, Red Cross, Civil Defense and Community level task force volunteers would be given training on special care to handle such persons.

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