Sunday, 27 September 2015

Disaster Management | Issues, Solutions

  • According to the Government of India, at least 38 cities lie in high-risk seismic zones and 
  • almost 60 % of the landmass of the subcontinent is immensely vulnerable to earthquakes or other natural disasters. 
  • The fact that a large section of the population is poor and lives in houses and cities that are hastily built and are not earthquake resistance raises the risk of human impact, in case of any disaster. Also, the lack of government’s preparedness to deal with such situations may add to the woes.
  • high-risk seismic zones, seismic zones, disaster management, World Bank on urbanization, infrastructure project, infrastructure project, indian express, business news 
  •  A report prepared by the World Bank on urbanisation in South Asia states that while the risks are high and growing on account of rising population density in urban areas, government’s need to plan more resilient cities and policy makers need to plan holistically to deal with any situation. The report enlists four recommendations that policy makers of a country need to take into account.
    • * Identify risk by using urban risk assessment framework
    • * Mitigate risk by planning critical and multipurpose safe and resilient infrastructure
    • * Develop a risk financing scheme to provide immediate liquidity in the aftermath of disasters and to build financial resilience
    • * Build strong institutions and collect, share, and distribute disaster data.
  •  Rising urbanisation and growing risk 
    • Concentration of population in urban areas has increased the risk exposure in South Asia to natural hazards in risk-prone areas such as deltas, floodplains, coasts, and the Himalayan belt.
    • The report points that in South Asia, the number of people exposed to natural hazards is growing by 3.5 per cent a year.
  • Solutions:
  • The first step in developing a resilience strategy is to identify risks at national and city level. It is also important to identify the vulnerabilities of communities and potential exposure to disasters. Urban risk assessments aim to identify critical infrastructure and develop early warning systems.
  • Mitigating risks call for developing both structural and nonstructural measures. While structural measures include dams, wave barriers and retrofitting of buildings etc, the nonstructural measures comprise policies and laws, practices, and agreements such as building codes, land-use planning, public awareness and information. 
  • An advance financing plan should include reserves, calamity funds, budget contingencies, a contingent debt facility and risk transfer mechanisms. While having insurance, reinsurance and parametric insurance is important, alternative risk transfer instruments include catastrophe bonds.
  • A detailed risk assessment is necessary for designing a national catastrophe risk strategy. While several South Asian countries have developed financing programs for disasters, the most extensive risk financing is in Sri Lanka. It is the first country to develop a “catastrophe draw down option” with assistance from the World Bank through a development policy loan. “The loan provides a line of credit that can be drawn on partially or in full if the country d clares a state of emergency after a natural disaster.”

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