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Kolkata among most flood vulnerable cities in world: study

London, Aug 23 (): A new study revealed nine coastal cities around the world are the most vulnerable to serious flooding with Shanghai at the top of the list and Kolkata and Dhaka also in the list.

A team of researchers from the Netherlands and the University of Leeds developed a new method to calculate ‘flood vulnerability’ of cities around the globe.

The researchers used their index and analysed the vulnerability to coastal flooding of nine cities built on river deltas: Kolkata in India, Casablanca in Morocco, Dhaka in Bangladesh, Osaka in Japan, Buenos Aires in Argentina, Shanghai in China, Marseille in France, Manila in the Philippines and Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

The study suggests Shanghai is the most vulnerable major city in the world to serious flooding. Dhaka stands second in the list of most vulnerable city to serious flooding.

Kolkata in India is also highly vulnerable, largely because of their huge populations and degree of exposure to storms.

The index incorporates 19 components, including measures of the level of economic activity in a city, its speed of recovery, and social issues such as the number of flood shelters, the awareness of people about flood risks, and the number of disabled people in the population.

Nigel Wright, professor from the University of Leeds explained how they measure the degree of vulnerability. Vulnerability is a complex issue. It is not just about your exposure to flooding, but the effect it actually has on communities and business and how much a major flood disrupts economic activity.

Shanghai is vulnerable because it is open to powerful storm surges and the land is subsiding as sea levels rise.

Dhaka sits only 4 metres above the current sea level and is regularly hit by tropical cyclones and floods and yet it has few defences in place and little resilience. Dhaka is very much susceptible to urban flooding and even monsoon floods may enter from the eastern side as about 50 percent area is not protected by embankment.