Since 2002, the Indian state of Odisha has been undertaking a grassroots awareness campaign on “dos and don’ts” during heat wave conditions through the Disaster Risk Management (DRM) program.

The paper examines whether the mangrove forests in Kendrapada district of Orissa played any protective role during the severe cyclone that hit the state in October 1999.

Protection against coastal disasters has been identified as an important service of mangrove ecosystems. Empirical studies on this service have been criticized, however, for using small samples and inadequately controlling for confounding factors. We used data on several hundred villages to test the impact of mangroves on human deaths during a 1999 super cyclone that struck Orissa, India.

This study assesses the storm protection role afforded by mangroves. It uses data on human casualties, damages to houses and livestock losses suffered in the Kendrapada district of the State of Orissa during the super cyclone of October 1999. The analysis incorporates meteorological, geo-physical and socio-economic factors to separate out the impact of mangrove vegetation on cyclone damage.