‘Water, water, everywhere…nor any drop to drink’

Disaster resilience in Pakistan: A comprehensive multi-dimensional spatial profiling

Building disaster-resilient communities require operative resilience frameworks enabling factual decision-making and resource allocation at national and sub-national scales. While Pakistan is frequently hit by several natural hazards (i.e., floods, droughts, earthquakes, and extreme heatwaves) resulting in devastating impacts, no national-level higher-resolution disaster resilience information is available to provide references for informed planning. Hence, this study provides a, first of its kind, multi-level comprehensive disaster resilience evaluation in Pakistan.

To do so, data on a customized list of indicators within three key resilience sub-components (i.e., economic, institutional, and social) are acquired to compute a resilience index. Frequency distribution and the Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) methods are employed to analyse the differences between different resilience indices and a cross-regional assessment is carried out at the sub-national level…

‘Water, water, everywhere…nor any drop to drink’

A scene from Jawahar Nagar near Semmancheri in Chennai on Thursday. (Photo | Ashwin Prasath, EPS)

Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s verse could describe Chennai and most Indian cities. Every four-five years, Chennai gets a cyclone, floods and waterlogging. Yet, come summer, colourful plastic water pots lined in front of street taps tell another tale. The rainwater is let out into the sea: It has nowhere to go.

Chennai once had over 250 waterbodies, including eris and temple tanks. Now there are a mere handful, the rest having been encroached upon by private citizens and government offices or become garbage dumps, filled and sold to contractors. Chennai also has two freshwater rivers—Adyar and Cooum—which have shrunk into rivulets of sewage.

In Tamil Nadu, every political party promises to clean Chennai’s rivers and desilt the tanks, but does nothing when in power. This is not the fate of Chennai alone. Much of India depends on rainfall, but does little to catch and store the water…

Real Estate Must Become More Resilient

There is no denying that the number of natural disasters and their severity have increased over the years. Wildfires have burned more than four million acres in California in 2020, which is double the previous record of two million acres that was set in 2018. On the other side of the country, the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season has also broken multiple records.

All these extreme weather events mean that buildings need to become more resilient to the changes that have happened and changes that will continue to occur. Whether one is managing a portfolio of assets worth billions or a single multifamily building, real estate resilience—the ability of a property or facility to adapt to and withstand extreme weathers and man-made disasters while maintaining its function and structure—is no longer just a nice-to-have but a necessity…

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