Coordination among stakeholders key to disaster risk mitigation: Experts
SRINAGAR: Jhelum and Tawi Flood Recovery Project (JTFRP) and RMSI Private Limited today organized a day long workshop on Multi Hazard Risk Assessment for Jammu and Kashmir at SKICC here.
The speakers emphasized the need to increase public awareness about disaster mitigation besides increasing their capacity to respond promptly and effectively to a crisis or emergency.
The workshop was attended by Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Pandurang K Pole, Chief Executive Officer, JKERA/JTFRP, Dr Syed Abid Rasheed Shah, Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Mohammad Aijaz, DIG Central Kashmir, Sujit Kumar, Deputy Commissioners of various districts and heads of other departments while Secretary DMRRR Nazim Zai Khan, Deepak Singh from World Bank and other officers participated online.
The workshop brought together participants from disaster management authorities, ERA, Irrigation and Flood Control, Kashmir University, National Institute of Technology Srinagar, Police, Fire and Emergency and other allied departments on a single platform so that a coordinated mechanism is evolved to reduce the social and economic fallouts of a disaster. It further focused on an enhanced cooperation and sharing of best practices among the disaster management agencies and experts in the region for better utilization of mitigation planning strategy in disaster management.
While delivering the inaugural address, Chief Executive Officer, Economic Reconstruction Agency, Dr Syed Abid Rasheed Shah said that JK is a multi disaster prone area and the aim of the workshop is to generate awareness about the ways to minimize the social and economic impacts of a disaster.
He said that purpose of the workshop is to change the mindset from relief, rescue, and rehabilitation to preparation, prevention and mitigation. He said that the government aims to turn the focus from post disaster management to pre disaster risk mitigation to prevent loss of lives and minimize the economic impacts of a disaster.
Emphasizing the need for mainstreaming this discourse, he said that community has to be taken onboard for coordinated efforts and there is a need for mainstreaming the disaster mitigation efforts. He said that JK being vulnerable to multiple natural hazards, the Government of J&K is taking several initiatives to improve the disaster risk resilience of the UT like updating the building codes, urban flood management and mathematical survey of Jhelum and Tawi rivers. He said that drainage system has been augmented and 49 dewatering stations in Srinagar have been upgraded.
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Pandurang K Pole said that there is a need for coordination among all departments and increasing interactions in schools.
He further said that JTFRP has taken a comprehensive view of all the natural disasters in J&K that would be vital to strengthening of Disaster preparedness and mitigation in J&K.
Secretary DMRRR, Nazim Zai Khan said that we need to enlarge the scope of workshops to involve more and more people to generate awareness about disasters and sensitizing people about the SOPs to be followed at the occurrence of a natural disaster.
Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Mohammad Aijaz said that the unpredictable nature of disasters poses a challenge but with the community participation and the technological advancements we can be better prepared to mitigate the disasters.
Emphasizing the need for better coordination at the time of disasters, DIG Central Kashmir, Sujit Kumar, said that we need to create awareness among the people at an early age to strengthen community participation.
Deepak Singh representing the World Bank said that mitigation is a continuous exercise and all stakeholders need to work on a constant basis.
The workshop featured a short documentary on Decision Support System and also held separate sessions on various topics like understanding risk for risk resilient development planning, tools for disaster risk resilience and presented key results of Multi-hazard Risk Assessment for J&K conducted by RMSI.
Under JTFRP, which is funded by the World Bank, J&K is carrying out several disaster risk reduction measures in addition to reconstruction activities. RMSI has carried several technical analyses and presented Multi-Hazard Risk Assessment (MHRA) for the entire J&K and Ladakh UTs.
The extensive MHRA for J&K conducted by RMSI included physical vulnerability survey of 42,000 buildings, survey of 30,000 households as part of the social vulnerability survey and the procurement of a high-resolution Digital Terrain Model (DTM) for the flood-prone areas of the two UTs.
The Final Report of the MHRA study provides the key findings of the survey, recommendations, and the way forward for the government towards disaster risk resilient development planning and separate reports for the UT of J&K and UT of Ladakh.
While highlighting the critical findings for UT of J&K, it was given out that the combined Average Annual Loss for flood and earthquake hazards for the UT of J&K is INR 1,774 crore with the major loss driver being residential buildings. The loss numbers show that the UT of J&K is more vulnerable to earthquake and flood hazards, though landslide events also occur frequently in many parts of the UT.
The Average Annual Loss (AAL) due to earthquakes for J&K is INR 1,488.44 crore, which is about 0.15% of the total exposure value.
Landslide hazard susceptibility analysis shows that the losses are predominantly for residential buildings followed by losses to transportation infrastructure. The districts with the highest number of residential buildings, in landslide susceptible zones are Doda, Ramban, Reasi, Poonch, Baramulla, Rajouri, Kishtwar, and Udhampur (ranked from highest to lowest).
The riverine flood hazard AAL for J&K is INR 286.50 crore, which is about 0.03% of the total exposure value of the UT. Srinagar district has the highest losses due to riverine flood followed by Baramulla district.
The flash flood AAL for J&K is INR 6.38 crore. The major losses are due to damages to bridges, schools, and commercial and residential buildings, which together contribute about 73% of the total losses, with damages to bridges contributing a significant share of 29.5%. Rajouri district of Jammu has a higher percentage of the population that is likely to be affected due to flash floods.
RMSI conducted an avalanche hazard assessment in the UT’s civilian-occupied areas. The evaluation identified as many as 659 avalanche sites and classified them based on frequency and severity. Assets worth INR 335 crore are estimated to be in potential avalanche-prone areas in UT of J&K. A major part comprises of buildings (61%) and transport infrastructure (34%).
Districts of Kishtwar, Ganderbal, Doda, Anantnag, Ganderbal, Kupwara, Baramulla, Bandipora, Pulwama, and Udhampur are highly prone to frequent avalanches. Similarly, Ganderbal, Bandipora, Baramulla, and Kupwara districts have a substantial percentage of the population living in snow avalanche hazard vulnerable areas.
Workshop was also attended by Chief Engineer R&B, Kashmir, Chief Engineer I&FC, Kashmir, Chief Engineer, Srinagar Smart City, senior officers of the EOC, Srinagar, DMRRR, District Administrations of various Districts, Experts from the IIT, Mumbai, NIDM, SDMA , JKERA and JTFRP.