In a recent blog post for the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities website, Swiss Re's Martyn Parker says that success in building resilient urban environments – whether in normal circumstances or following a disaster – is frequently down to the resourcefulness of city mayors. In his view, their single-mindedness and collaborative ability are often the crucial factors in securing investment in the kind of infrastructure projects all cities need to stay viable for the future.
One of those mayors endowed with the qualities Martyn Parker describes is Radwin Kamil of Bandung in Indonesia, a city about 180 kms to the south-east of Jakarta. In a recent Urban Resilience feature in the Financial Times, Kamil describes his determination to find solutions to the raft of problems facing Bandung, including rising social inequality, crumbling infrastructure, flooding and corruption.
According to the FT, just one of Radwin Kamil's bold plans is to build a monorail and cable car system that will enable Bandung's citizens to commute more quickly from the hills that surround the city to the better connected valleys. To realize this project, the mayor is no doubt keenly aware that he will need not only the support of private investors and local politicians but also the enabling power of the insurance industry.
And if all this weren't enough, mayor Kamil must also know that the bustling, economically vibrant city in his care is as much exposed to earthquake and flood risk as nearby Jakarta. Swiss Re's publication, "Closing the Nat Cat protection gap: Jakarta, Indonesia" points out that only a small part of the regional economy is insured against natural disasters. In fact according to Swiss Re experts, the greater Jakarta area ranks number 4 globally in terms of its exposure to natural disasters.
This would mean that if a major earthquake or flood hit the region today, individuals, businesses and the government would face billions of dollars in economic losses. To mitigate the risk, the Swiss Re paper proposes stronger collaboration between the public sector and the insurance industry. Apart from devising customized risk transfer solutions, this cooperation might entail hazard-related land use planning, the implementation of flood protection measures, the improvement of hazard mapping and upgrading buildings to make them less vulnerable to earthquake damage.
Photo source: Wikipedia
Category: Climate/natural disasters: Disaster risk, Resilience
Location: Bandung, East Java, Indonesia