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Urban and Megacities disaster risk reduction: manual of sound practices

Disaster risk reduction (DRR) is an important component for achieving sustainable development of cities and progress towards the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals. This manual is a disaster risk communication tool aimed at facilitating the understanding of disaster vulnerabilities and risk to megacities and large complex urban areas. It identifies, compiles and illustrates sound practices in disaster risk reduction that have been tested and implemented by different cities to aid knowledge sharing opportunities. In doing so, it contributes to the achievement of the goals of the Hyogo Framework for Action, specifically Thematic Area No. 3 – use of knowledge to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels.

The manual provides an overview of programmes and projects that facilitate the identification and collection of  DRR practices in the cities of Bogota, Dhaka, Istanbul, Kathmandu, Kobe, Metro Manila, Mexico, Mumbai, Quito, and Tehran. Programmes and projects include a focus on urban search and rescue, integrated system for disaster management and emergency, post earthquake structural evaluation, disaster management indicator system, school curricula, resettlement of families living in high risk areas, emergency prevention and attention plan, response capacity to a major earthquake, school earthquake safety program, earthquake master plan, and increasing storm water drainage capacity.

The manual argues that the implementation of DRR in mega-cities is plagued by the following challenges:

  • the management and reduction of disaster risk has been neglected in many cities because it is not treated as a priority by governments and donor agencies
  • multiple layers of intervention are required in institutional and organisational terms to implement and enforce viable policies and actions for DRR and management
  • a multidisciplinary approach is required to assess the highly probable impacts of a disaster which is exacerbated by vulnerable socio-economic conditions and lack of resilience of people
  • policy makers and city managers require a clear understanding of disaster risks in order to make informed decisions and develop viable options for disaster mitigation strategies and options.