What We Do

Disaster Risk Reduction


Disaster Risk Reduction

Disaster Risk Reduction is an emerging area of concern for cities as natural disasters add to the existing challenges of ensuring that a city functions well. Sendei framework for DRR defines its stakeholders to take responsibility both for mitigation, early warning and post disaster rehabilitation.

UMC’s core team has members who are skilled in training for disaster management and have also worked with local bodies in creating a communications strategy for their disaster management plans.

CityLinks Post-Tsunami Recovery Program in Cuddalore and Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu, India in partnership with Cities of Florida, USA


Client: United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Location: Cuddalore and Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu, India, and Florida, USA

Duration: April 2005 - April 2007


On December 26, 2004, a tsunami destroyed India’s southern coast leaving behind hundreds of dead, damaged property worth millions, and shambled infrastructure. The districts of Cuddalore and Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu state bore the maximum brunt. In Nagapattinam, 6,065 people lost their lives and 1,922 were reported missing. The death toll in Cuddalore reached 617 and 192 were reported missing. Nearly 2,96,000 people in both districts were directly or indirectly affected by the disaster. To assist with the recovery process, the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), with financial support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched the CityLinks Post-Tsunami Recovery Program. The CityLinks Program brought together city practitioners of Palm Bay, Palm Beach Gardens, Port Orange, and Oldsmar, Florida (US) with city officials of Cuddalore and Nagapattinam to share resources and technical expertise to improve the lives of urban residents. 

This program was supported by UMC, in partnership with representatives from Florida analyzed the technical assistance needs and implemented various pilot projects to aid recovery of Cuddalore and Nagapattinam. The partner cities selected target areas in the two cities for technical assistance — CAD mapping, financial management strategies, improved water supply services, flood mitigation, playground, and park redevelopment.

CAD Mapping: UMC realized that the implementation of plans for the physical improvement of cities is possible only with updated topographical and land use maps. Officials from visiting US cities realized that both Cuddalore and Nagapattinam had ancient maps. Satellite images of the cities were procured, interpreted, and verified. Local government officials provided old maps of the cities to verify details of municipal wards and boundaries. Florida officials trained local government officials in the usage of AutoCAD to develop an interactive and vibrant mapping system.

Financial Management Strategies:  UMC/ICMA targeted re-engineering of financial procedures and systems of the two cities and worked to reconcile accounts of property tax, water charges, and professional tax. Following an extensive survey of existing properties in Cuddalore, UMC/ICMA and the US delegation along with local government officials undertook identification of new properties. The survey helped update the database with over 10,000 new properties and also revealed vital information about the number of properties escaping the tax net due to lax officials. The restructuring of the financial system gave the cities over 75% increase in their assessments with over $800,000 in back taxes collection and $540,000 collected subsequently from other cities.

Improved Water Supply Services:  UMC/ICMA improved access to and quality of drinking water. The overall objective of the water improvement programs at Cuddalore and Nagapattinam was the improvement of the existing water supply system in relation to quality and quantity of water provided to each user by the municipality; improvement in access to information for citizens and increase transparency in urban governance for better service delivery. UMC/ICMA conducted a survey of citizens to determine why some residents of both cities did not connect to the municipal water system followed by a water testing study at the end-user level. The team also procured 13 and 12 pressure gauges for Nagapattinam and Cuddalore respectively and installed them to enable monitoring of water supply pressure. To protect the consumers from health risks, the team installed a 4kg capacity chlorinator with 2 cylinders (one as standby) with auto change over the system for each town to ensure a better quality of water. The CityLinks team then developed a public awareness campaign to educate citizens about the actions undertaken by municipal corporations of Cuddalore and Nagapattinam following the survey to convince citizens about the quality of water. At the end of the program, almost 20,000 citizens in each of the cities had access to safe drinking water.

Flood Mitigation: Cuddalore and Nagapattinam’s infrastructure decay increased due to the lack of a proper, implementable flood mitigation plan. The objective of the CityLinks project was to build the capacity of the two cities to mitigate the impact of future floods resulting from heavy rains, storm surges, and tsunamis. In order to reduce the risk of flooding in Cuddalore and Nagapattinam, the CityLinks team, in consortium with local stakeholders, local consultants, and Florida partners designed city-specific plans for mitigation of flooding. UMC/ICMA facilitated the study, development, and implementation of stormwater drainage and ditch maintenance plans. The team cleaned drainage sites in low lying areas in both cities, with 750 running meters of drainage cleaned in Cuddalore. In Nagapattinam, interconnections for 12 of the city’s historic retention ponds were cleaned, which has allowed for water to flow more freely. Flood prone areas were identified through updated base maps and the capacity of Cuddalore and Nagapattinam to mitigate the impact of future floods resulting from heavy rains, storm surges, and tsunamis were strengthened.

Playground and Park Redevelopment: The tsunami destroyed all community interaction and recreational spaces. Municipal officials from both cities expressed the need for rebuilding recreation spaces specifically for children to help them overcome the trauma of the disaster. The cities and partners felt that projects must have participation from the community so as to help the people overcome their tragedies. The CityLinks team designed and built community playgrounds in Cuddalore from 17-21 January 2007 and in Nagapattinam from January 24-28, 2007. Designers visited the two cities for creative planning and drawing sessions and face-to-face meetings with parents, teachers, school administrators, and other interested community members. The CityLinks team organized a Design Day followed by a brainstorming session to finalize the designs of the playgrounds. Following the finalization of the design drawings, a community-build process was initiated where volunteers of all ages worked side by side for the five-day construction activity.


Related Resource Documents 

For more information contact us at info@umcasia.org 


Manual for Development of Disaster Management Plan for ULBs in Andhra Pradesh


Client: Centre for Good Governance

Location: Andhra Pradesh

Duration: April 2005 – September 2007
Disasters are unexpected events, which not only claim the lives of human beings and animals but also result in huge damage to both natural and man-made properties. Urban Local Bodies have to play a crucial role in the management of the following natural disasters:

null Floods
null Cyclones
null Earth Quakes
null Fire Hazards

Many ULB’s at the time of development of the manual was not prepared with a disaster management plan to enable them to perform their duties in case of natural disasters in an effective and planned manner. There was a  need to issue guidelines to all ULBs for the preparation of a disaster management plan every year to make it an integral part of the district disaster management plan to be prepared in each district. 

The main objective of the disaster management plan was to :

null Provide a quick and effective response during natural disasters to minimize casualties and enable quick recovery.
null Carry out restoration and rehabilitation measures without delay once the disaster situation is over.
null Provide sanitation and water supply facilities in relief camps set up by the Revenue Department.
null Undertake vaccination measures in the affected areas to prevent communicable diseases.

UMC undertook the following tasks in order to prepare the Manual for Development of Disaster Management Plan

null Prepared guidelines for the preparation of an action plan for disaster management.
null Listed out responsibilities to be entrusted each municipal functionary
null Prepared a plan of action for storage of adequate materials to maintain sanitation, water supply, and street lights.
null Prepared a plan of action for coordination with other departments.
null Prepared a plan of action to involve NGOs and CBOs in relief and rehabilitation measures.

For the preparation of this handbook, UMC contacted cities from Florida that have had a long history of handling disasters and have systematized the management procedures. UMC analyzed and reviews their processes and adapted these to the Indian context. UMC also took guidance from ICMA’s National Emergency Management Network.

The team also studies the measures taken up by the ULBs in case of natural disasters for the restoration of Municipal Services affected. A thorough study of the various kinds of equipment and materials needed in advance to meet natural disasters was undertaken.  UMC then prepared a comprehensive step by step guide for ULBs to prepare their disaster management plans.  The plan prepared was also shared with ULBs of the state of Andhra Pradesh and a rapid field validation was undertaken in the towns of Rajamundhary and Khammam. these towns had the experience of handling previous disasters.

The manual presented resource inventory templates and action plan templates for the response phase with assessment templates and explanatory notes for the recovery phase.

Related Resource Documents 

For more information contact us at info@umcasia.org 



CityLinks Post-Tsunami Recovery Program in Cuddalore and Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu, India in partnership with Cities of Florida, USA

Manual for Development of Disaster Management Plan for ULBs in Andhra Pradesh