RISK COMMUNICATION: A CASE STUDY OF MUMBAI DELUGE ON 26TH JULY ,2005 Risk Communication: It is an interactive process of exchange of information and opinion among individuals , groups & individuals. - sensitive zone - cautious communication - Chain reaction - Authenticity is important - Channel of communication - Very formal - Systematic , Planned & deliberate communication - Have to be Factual Lets talk about the case: Nature of event : “Very Heavy”(> 200 mm/day: IMD) rainfall started at 1430 hrs on the 26th July 2005 High tide at 15:50 hrs. of 4.48 m 944 mm of rainfall measured at Santa Cruz Station of the IMD (Indian Meteorological Department) for a period of 24 hours starting 0830 h on the 26thJuly, 2005 1011 mm at ViharLake (exceeded one day’s rainfall record at Cherrapunji -985 mm in 1974) Mumbai received 944 mm (Sydney’s AAR) in 24 hours from 08:30 of 26July 2005 Its mid july, a message flashed on some of the mobiles – Heavy to very heavy rains expected in next 48 hours – and sender to everyone surprise was the BMC What do you think ? Does it answer all those questions of the worried citizens ? Is the communication sufficient ? What else needs to be done? Here comes the role of Risk communication 1 - SMS sent – but no rains as heavily expected 2 - Second week – SMS sent – but no rains as heavily expected – MET dep. failed twice Another Warning by MET – BMC commissioner confused ?? weather to communicate message to public or not. But he didn’t communicate We say , Though it is true that weather predictions by Met department are often questioned and contested, he is bound by duty to communicate it to the people. Especially in thelight of peoples right to information under RTI 2005 Problems : 1. Low lying areas along Mithi river like Dharavi , Kurla , Mahim , Santa Cruz , Andheri , Ghatkoper , Sion. 2. Mithi river official carrier of waste & garbage 3. Mumbai is hardly 10 to 15 meters above the sea level. It is surrounded by water on the 3 sides – Arabian sea to the west & south , the harbor bay & Thane creek at east . 4. No solid waste management – creating blockages of drains leading to flooding 5. Hundreds of commercial / industrial illegally located along the Mithi river 6. 53 % of its population living in slums – 2000 different slums settlement leads to fault in drainage system 7. No gates to shut the drains against storms surges & high tide. 8. 70 of the 300 outfalls are presently below sea level. 9. Land along the mithi river contributed to flood as it was elevated by airport authority of India . 10. Absence of proper town planning 11. Loophole in communication system by control rooms - Police - BMC - Fire Brigade - BEST - Central / Western / Konkan - District control room for mumbai district - District control room for Mumbai suburban district - Civil Defence 12. System in island city designed for rainfall of 25mm/hour Madhavrao Chitale ( Irrigation Official ) identified : ( FFC – FACT FINDING COMMITTEE ) 1. 235 flood prone points 2. 10 sections of central railway 3. 12 sections of western railway Solutions : 1. Upgradation of communication & public information system in Mumbai 2. Involvement of NGO’s , Citizens group in planning of some crucial element 3. Regular Drills to respond to the system 4. Respective agencies to be assigned to undertake various tasks 5. Wireless communication - full duplex 6. Display boards - 44 locations at present 7. Public address system in local trains / railway stations & bus stations 8. Cable TV networks. – local coverage 9. Authenticity of the source of information 10. Lower the risk of misinterpretation 11. Simplicity & clarity in the message put across Lets talk more about Risk Communication : 3 Approaches of Risk Communication ( Simplistic Model – sender – medium – receiver ) 1. Before 2. During 3 After disaster Risk communication is a part of larger process of risk analysis which includes 1. Risk assessment 2. Risk Management 3. Risk communication Risk communication - Understanding the probability of a loss. - It helps in reducing the disasters - Influence on human decision making - Risk = Probability of an accident X losses per accident - Decision making under uncertainty must consider cognitive bias , cultural bias & national bias - Requires planning , preparation , resource , skills & practice - DAD – Decide , Announce & defend model Problems in Risk Communication : - Barriers are created when high concern situation involves risk such as Fear, distrust, outrage, frustration, anxiety, anger & helplessness - Weakness of various channels through which risk information is communicated. How to communicate risk : 1. Know your communication limits & purpose 2. Pretesting the message - to determine the suitability and to ensure that the risk message achieves the desired results. 3. communicate early, often & fully – time & amount of information tio be released 4. Risk = hazard + outrage Thus in this case , a proactive thinking on the part of BMC could have averted the confusion that prevailed at that time. A new model of public private partnership in handling integrated disaster management communication is the need of the hour.