Master plan on cards for disaster management

BMC, IIT-B conducting joint study to assess vulnerable parts of the city

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) are conducting a joint study to come up with a master plan to deal with disasters in the city.

Speaking during a session on disaster-resilient cities on the final day of the Disaster Management Congress at the IIT-B on Friday, Mahesh Narvekar, director of Disaster Management, BMC, highlighted the city’s vulnerabilities and the BMC’s plans to handle them.

“There are over four million structures in Mumbai including slums, and about 60% of the population lives in slums. Two million people live in 16,000 buildings that have been identified as dilapidated, while more than three lakh citizens live in informal settlements in 299 landslide-prone areas,” Mr. Narvekar said.

He said the traffic conditions are a challenge as well, with 6.3 million people commuting daily by public transport and more than two million vehicles running on the roads every day. “When it comes to areas vulnerable to inundation, 57 slums with population over 2.5 million are located within the high tide line,” he said.

Mr. Narvekar said that through the joint study, the BMC and IIT-B will develop a master plan for disaster risk assessment, management and response mechanism.

Professor Ravi Sinha from IIT-B told The Hindu, “We have divided the total area of Mumbai into 7,700 grids, each one of 250 square metre, to assess how vulnerable that particular grid is and what kind of structures stand over it so that we can further develop risk assessment, recovery and response mechanisms.”

Mr. Sinha, who is a member of the Maharashtra State Disaster Management Authority, was chairing the session on Friday.

Describing the complicated nature of cities, Keio University Professor Rajib Shaw, the Chair of United Nation International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Science Technology Advisory Group, said, “Cities are a co-existence of contrasts — 60% of world population lives in less than 3% of the urban land area.”

Mr. Shaw proposed the use of Climate Disaster Resilience Index, a tool that eases the understanding of disaster risk and resilience by dividing the city into various parameters like physical (electricity, water), social (population, health), economic (income, employment), institutional (crisis management, knowledge dissemination) and natural (intensity and frequency of disasters, ecosystem).

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Printable version | May 25, 2020 10:06:00 PM |

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