Disaster preparedness in Dhaka

Urban governance needs to be strengthened

Over the last few years a new wave of unplanned urbanisation has changed the landscape of Dhaka, leaving the city dwellers at risk. The consequences of unplanned urbanisation are already evident in the poor living condition. 

Bangladesh is known for rural hazards especially flood, but these days urban hazards have become more frequent and harsher. Living in this overcrowded jungle of concrete, it is horrifying to imagine how would this town survive if an earthquake takes place?

Because of rapid and poorly planned urbanisation, Dhaka is becoming more and more vulnerable to both natural and man-made hazards. 

Dhaka is characterised by the poor living standards, building construction without consideration of safety measures, lack of public awareness to hazards, and poorly enforced building code.

Considering all above, strengthening urban governance has become very much necessary on the part of the government and city planners. Disaster needs to be ingrained in urban and national strategies.

Multi-hazard approaches need to be ensured in 

policies, regulations and plans to reduce urban 

risk that will make Dhaka safer in the long-run

There are numerous characteristics of current urban planning and development that pose serious threats to the life and wealth of city dwellers. 

For example, the lack of enforcement of building code, planning permission and regulatory investment, often linked to corruption, allow the transfer of risk from construction companies to those who live and work in the buildings.

Experts from related arena and different stakeholders who are properly trained should work together under one umbrella to ensure a risk resilient infrastructure system.

For making the cities safer and reducing urban disaster risks, there is no alternative other than building capacity of local government for ensuring effective services in emergency situations. 

Proper implementation of land use plan and enforcement of building code are also important to make an urban area more resilient to disasters. 

Multi-hazard approaches need to be ensured in policies, regulations and plans to reduce urban risk that will make Dhaka safer in the long-run.