Mumbai surrounded by water on three sides, lies in the moderate seismic zone 3, can experience quakes up to 6.5 on the Richter scale and faces a high risk of earthquakes.
Civic figures say over 19,000 city buildings are in a dilapidated state, making the area more vulnerable to disasters.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has proposed to spend Rs 5.7 crore to chart out a disaster risk management plan with help from an international organisation, ‘Earthquake Megacities Initiative’ (EMI).
This will give a boost to the civic disaster management cell formed in 2000 but started functioning in 2005 after the July 26 deluge.
The EMI, a non-profit organisation, dedicated to reduction of disaster risk in major cities is preparing a similar plan for Los Angeles, Manila and Kathmandu.
“The existing system is very basic and our preparation is based on hypothetical situations,” said Joint Municipal Commissioner (Disaster) S.S. Shinde who spotted the project on his trip to Los Angeles. “Our present management is based on response and not overall preparedness as our people are not trained to handle disaster.”
The plan will be drawn after studying the existing system vis-à-vis international parameters. As an example, Shinde said, “Right now, if there is a building collapse, we rush the fire brigade and JCBs. We take a call on the situation after going there; that’s incorrect.”
The EMI has experts in disaster on their board, which will help the department recognise its strengths and weakness, analyse the modus operandi that exists and involve the stakeholders.
“After looking at all these issues, the department will have a professional document ready which will teach us ideal ways in which disasters can be tackled,” Shinde added.
The proposal will be tabled to the standing committee for its approval on Wednesday and will be completed within two years of commencement.