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IIT Bombay study identifies ‘highly vulnerable’ slum pockets in city

Flags slum areas in Mankhurd,Govandi and Deonar in M-East ward,Trombay in M-West ward,Bhandup-East in S ward and Mulund-East in T-ward

Written by Mihika Basu | Mumbai |
December 23, 2013 2:22:23 am

THE slum areas of wards M-East and M-West under zone seven and wards T and S under zone six of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) have been identified as highly socio-economic vulnerable places,as part of a massive project to draw a flood risk map of Mumbai.

The study,undertaken by Sherly M A,a research scholar at IIT Bombay-Monash Research Academy,is aimed at assessing and mapping the spatial-temporal pattern of hydrologic,hydraulic,socio-economic and infrastructural elements that contribute to flood risk and vulnerability for Mumbai.

“The commercial capital of India is a small island city with a geographical area of less than 500 sq km (under MCGM). It has a population density of around 20,000 persons per sq km and more than 50 per cent population lives in slum areas. The city faces floods almost annually due to heavy rainfall during the south-west monsoon. The ever-growing population has resulted in rampant encroachment,leading to the blocking of natural channels that used to drain rainwater. Its impaired drainage system and high tides make the city and its infrastructure vulnerable,” said Sherly.

According to the findings, slum areas in Mankhurd,Govandi and Deonar in M-East ward,Trombay in M-West ward,Bhandup-East in S-ward and Mulund-East in T-ward are socio-economically vulnerable.

“The slum areas of wards M/E and M/W are ill-equipped,both socio-economically and in terms of infrastructure-wise to tackle a flood-like situation,” she added.

The map,which is likely to be ready in another year,will be colour-coded and will cover the MCGM area. It will show spatial pattern of flood risk in different colours as very low,low,medium,high,and very high. Such a map will depict the product of probability of occurrence of a hazard (flood event of a particular magnitude),its exposure and vulnerability of the affected population to flood disaster. “A flood risk map depicts the spatial pattern of flood risk over a region. The term risk has been explained in different ways by technocrats and social scientists. In many places,flood hazard map is called flood risk map. There are risk insurance companies who prepare flood risk maps purely from an economic point of view. Hence,research is on globally to achieve a full-fledged flood risk map,considering its multi-disciplinary nature,” she said.

According to Sherly,as part of such research works,flood risk maps have been developed for cities like Valencia,Seoul,London (Ontario),Dhaka,Santiago de Chile.

As per the model followed by IIT Bombay-Monash,the creation of the map will involve developing a flood hazard map,which is generated using flood modeling,taking into consideration the combined effect rainfall and tide. The second,a flood vulnerability map,is generated by two types of vulnerabilities,infrastructure and socio-economic. “Infrastructure vulnerabilities are assessed in terms of the possible extent of inundation of critical facilities such as hospitals,public buildings,emergency shelters,schools,and of emergency services such as fire stations and police stations. The information,aggregated in a geographic information system (GIS) environment,is combined to create the overall risk map,” said Sherly.

Sherly’s guide,IIT-Bombay Prof Subhankar Karmakar said such a map would enable decision-makers to create land development plans,land zoning laws,emergency response strategies,disaster recovery,and infrastructure development.

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