Research Report

Reorganizing Urban Disaster Management 

V. Balachandran

V. Balachandran

Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, GOI
"The “World Urban Forum” meet (March 22, 2010) at Rio de Janeiro had warned that “mega cities” were merging to form vast “mega regions” which would stretch hundreds of miles across countries and be home to more than 100 million people each. Hong Kong Shenzhen-Guangzhou region in China is now home to about 120 million people. The meeting took note that such mega regions were developing in Japan, Brazil, India and Africa. It warned: “Just over half the world now lives in cities; by 2050, over 70 per cent of the world will be urban dwellers.” The meeting warned that this would lead to unprecedented urban sprawl, new slums, unbalanced development and income inequalities, as more people move to satellite or dormitory cities. The report said that India had 25 of the world’s “fastest” growing urban centers.
 
Other studies have found that the regulatory, emergency and law and order services in most countries, especially in India are geared only to tackle the “traditional security threats” like crime and normal law and order problems, but not trained or capable of tackling “non-traditional security threats” (NTST) which have their origins in factors beyond their control or which originate outside their geographical boundaries. 
 
All these indicate that the methodology of tackling urban disorders cannot any more be left to the traditional methods and will have to be replaced by innovative steps to make our growing urban centers truly “resilient” in meeting natural calamities or manmade situations like terrorism."

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