ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Addressing the Emergent Disaster Riskscape in Urban India

Recent natural disasters in India highlight the extent to which urban systems, associated structures, and populations are at greater risk. Cyclone Hudhud and the floods in Srinagar are clear indications of an emergent disaster riskscape that is taking shape in urban India. This article highlights the opportunities across five interlinked domains of institutions, innovation, investment, infrastructure and information to address this situation.

Recent natural disasters in India highlight the extent to which urban systems, associated structures, and populations are at greater risk. Cyclone Hudhud and the floods in Srinagar are clear indications of an emergent disaster riskscape that is taking shape in urban India. This article highlights the opportunities across five interlinked domains of institutions, innovation, investment, infrastructure and information to address this situation.

Disasters derail development processes. Communities and economies very often find it difficult to cope with and recover from such sudden shocks. And this is ever more intense and prolonged in an urban context where drivers of disaster vulnerability as well capacities to adapt are diverse and differential. While hydro-meteorological hazards, such as cyclones, storms, and extreme rainfall events, are likely to become more frequent and intense because of a changing climate, there has also been a significant increase in the level of exposure of our urban soci0ecological systems. The growing body of scientific evidence, such as the Working Group II contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 2014), not only points to a changing pattern of such hydro-meteorological hazards but also highlights the multiple ways through which development choices and planning have increased exposure and given rise to a new risk regime in our cities and societies.

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