Kerala needs to raise bar in disaster resilience: US expert

India Times: Governments across the world are looking at building resilient structures to counter the destruction caused by sudden change in climate triggered by nature and human interferences.

“We, in the US too face disasters, which lead to loss of life and property and the government has decided to look at climate resilience with solutions that could prevent extensive damage,” said Amy Chester, managing director, Rebuild by Design, New York.

Chester, an expert on building, planning designing, who works with the US government on disaster resilience, said Kerala could customize solutions for climate disasters. “After Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc in several states five years ago, the government called for experts to pool in ideas and projects for building weather-resilient structures,” she said.

A disaster-resilient authority has now been set up in each state affected by disaster. “They sit in the same building which also has city/town planners and are involved in designing and constructing structures that address issues of inundation and flooding,” she added.

Hurricane Sandy affected 24 states in the US. The US coasts have always been vulnerable to tornadoes and hurricane events, she said, adding: “But it was only when they struck cities like New York that the disaster assumed horrendous proportions. Power and water-lines are switched off. We don’t store water in homes. So, when power goes off, people living in tall apartments, for example in in the 30th floor, are totally cut-off. Often, there are children and old people who have no access to any facility. It was decided to build the first-line of community response system. The volunteers, very local, are expected to reach out to each and every house with medicines and all emergency needs.” Read more>>