UN picks Mumbai as ‘role model city’ for handling floods

The Brihanmumbai stormwater drainage (BRIMSTOWAD) project may be only 40 per cent complete and the Mithi river rehabilitation project may be crawling after the first phase was completed under a court-appointed deadline, but Mumbai has still been selected as a 'role model city' for effective disaster management during floods.

The United Nations-International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN-ISDR) chose Mumbai for its disaster preparedness exhibited during floods from among 32 competing cities, including various American and European cities. The Sasakawa Award for Disaster Risk Reduction will be presented to Mayor Shraddha Jadhav and chief disaster management officer Mahesh Narvekar, who will attend the convention at Geneva in Switzerland from May 8-14.

Narvekar said the international jury was impressed with the various measures taken by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation towards reducing risk during flooding situations after the deluge in 2005.

"The award is for overall disaster preparedness, but it is highlighting the role of responding agencies during various flood-like situations that the city keeps experiencing, considering its rainfall pattern. Various parameters such as the effectiveness of our pumping stations, implementation of the BRIMSTOWAD project, contour mapping etc were taken into consideration," said Narvekar.

The Rs 2,000-crore BRIMSTOWAD project, first proposed to be completed by 1990, is only 40 per cent complete after major cost escalations. The results of the contour mapping project remain untested. Yet, officials said the jury found Mumbai to be the "most affected by flooding and most experienced in handling flood situations".

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