Enhancing urban resilience to disasters and climate change
Glimpse of Year 2020
Urbanization in coastal areas leads to increased development, population growth and density near waterfronts that exacerbate disaster risks. A resilient urban community can anticipate, prevent, absorb, adapt and respond to shocks and stresses of disasters and climate change variability.
In Myanmar, ADPC with support from Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) has been helping local governments enhance urban planning and resilience through risk assessments, capacity development and providing actionable data on coastal areas for informed decision-making.
Understanding disaster and climate-related risks in a coastal urban setting
In 2020, ADPC conducted a hazard and risk assessment on urban population and infrastructure resilience to flooding, cyclones and storm surges for Dala Township of Myanmar. The assessment included assessing general building stocks, health facilities, power transmission facilities and road networks.
Dala Township is located on the banks of the Yangon River with a current population of 186,143 residents. Given its location, the township is highly exposed to climate-induced natural hazards such as cyclones, floods and storm surges. Post-Nargis Joint Assessment [PONJA] (2008) reports that Cyclone Nargis resulted in 14 lives lost in the township and Horton et al. (2016) notes that maximum temperature rises in the area ranged between 0.25⁰C and 0.40⁰C per decade from 1981- 2010. This rapid warming also contributes to the township’s various climate-related disasters.
Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) has also categorized Dala as a redevelopment zone within its Strategic Urban Development Plan. It provides government and communities with a great opportunity to mainstream disaster risk reduction and climate change concerns into the development planning process.
Providing information for risk-sensitive land use planning
ADPC’s assessment revealed that most buildings in Dala are prone to 1-2 meters of flooding and nearly the whole area is prone to very severe cyclonic storms. Specifically, an estimated 133,407 people and 161.91 kilometers of roads in Urban Dala are potentially exposed to strong winds that can reach between 118-165 km/h.
ADPC also mapped the locations of critical infrastructure such as hospitals and schools in its assessments and concludes that further analyses can be done on possible evacuation routes and shelters. The findings set the basis for determining the future direction for incorporating disaster risks in Dala’s land-use planning. Disaster risks can be reduced by adopting risk-sensitive land-use management processes that encourage a better understanding of how natural hazards in and around Urban Dala interact with existing and future urban growth. The findings also help determine the type of investment that can be undertaken to promote development in a risk-sensitive manner.
Supporting health risk management & Scaling up urban community readiness
An expected outcome of the Urban Resilience to Climate Extremes in Southeast Asia (URCE) program supported by Norad is improved urban sectoral preparedness and emergency response. Capacity development initiatives help ensure the wellbeing of urban communities in target areas such as healthcare. In February 2020, Training Needs Assessments (TNAs) were conducted in Yangon and Dala. Regional government officials from different agencies participated. The workshops covered initiatives on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS), Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Nutrition in Emergencies (NiE), energy and transport and laying the foundation of the Health Risk Management Framework. An orientation of WHO’s Health Emergency Disaster Risk Management Framework (Health-EDRM) was also provided.
Snaps of the Workshop
ADPC also organized a workshop on community preparedness to enable a learning environment for government officials, township, and community leaders. An online training module on urban community preparedness with Gender Equality & Social Inclusion (GESI) considerations has also been developed as part of ADPC’s upcoming Safer Cities Course.
Snaps of the Workshop