Resilient Varanasi

City needs attention on sanitation, managing solid waste and health system


Puja Bhattacharjee | April 11, 2015

#varanasi   #varanasi kyoto   #kyoto   #narendra modi   #banaras hindu university kyoto  

Varanasi, the oldest living town on planet, is prone to small-scale disaster as the frequency of small-scale disasters and natural ecosystem vulnerabilities has increased in five years. This was revealed in a study jointly conducted by Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and Kyoto University in partnership with the Varanasi municipal corporation under the Kyoto Varanasi Partnership agreement.

The study, Climate and Disaster Resilience of Varanasi: City, Zone and Ward profile, also disclosed that the city has not been able to secure specific budget for the disaster related issues.

The study was aimed at measuring city’s resilience to climate related hazards such as floods in the river, urban water-logging, heat wave, cold wave and water scarcity. This was measured from all the 90 wards of the city spread in five zones of the VMC. It was revealed that the natural resilience index remained at 3.08 from 2011 to 2015. It was measured in terms of intensity and frequency of natural hazards, ecosystem services, land use and environmental policies.

The study was conducted based on five dimensions namely, natural, physical, social, economic and institutional and these five dimensions are connected to five sets of variables.

The overall resilience of the city has increased to 2.86 in 2011 to 3.20 in 2015, on a scale of 1 to 5.  Meanwhile the economic resilience was lowest among the five dimensions. It further said that city needed much attention on sanitation, solid waste management and health care system. At the same time, social capital, water supply system and household assets are the strength for the town.

Overall findings:

  • A comparative analysis of 2011 and 2015 data shows city resilience has increased from 2.86 to 3.20 (on a scale of 1 to 5). 
  • A detailed analysis shows that the city has undertaken environmental policy and land use planning, there has been increasing frequency of small-scale disasters, and natural ecosystem vulnerability has increased.
  • In infrastructure development (physical resilience), significant improvement is made in electricity supply. 
  • In social resilience, the community preparedness and social capital has enhanced.
  • Institutional resilience also shows a jump from 2.58 to 3.30.
  • In economic resilience, while there has been better employment, income and household asset, the city has not yet been able to secure specific budget for the disaster related issues. 
  • Several areas like electricity, water, sanitation and solid waste, road conditions, housing, land use planning, income, employment, house assets, finance and savings and budget and subsidy, education, health and population were measured while conducting the study.

Issues that need attention:

  • Governance capacity, budget allocation and training
  • Social media and smart media system to share lessons and learning
  • Sanitation, solid waste management, roads and health system

Issues which need to be sustained and can be considered as an asset for Varanasi:

  • Social capital and community cohesion and relationship
  • Water supply system
  • Household assets



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