Friday, September 9, 2011

Multi-hazard vulnerability maps: Coastal belt will now be more protected from tsunamis and cyclonic floods

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: Coastal belt will now be more protected from
tsunamis and cyclonic floods as the city-based Indian National Centre
for Ocean Information Services (Incois) is all set to come out with
multi-hazard vulnerability maps that pinpoint the exact areas to be
submerged in case of natural calamities.

"We know that coastal areas are vulnerable to tsunamis, cyclonic
floods and storm surges. But we do not know what are the areas that
will be submerged. Using the latest digital technology we are now
mapping the entire coastal belt. This will help us know the exact
localities that will be affected in case a natural disaster hits the
coast. Using the maps, we can take precautionary and safety measures
to prevent loss of life," said Incois scientist Dr RS Mahendra.

He said Incois is now ready with maps of Tamil Nadu and Andhra coasts.
Incois is now busy securing data on the coastline of other States and
once the process is completed, the high digital elevation model maps
will be available for use. The maps will be on a resolution of
1:1,00,000 scale and will focus on all vulnerable areas.

In case of highly vulnerable areas along the coast with high
population density, Incois will come out with special 3-D GIS maps,
which will be even more accurate and highly informative. The mapping
will consider all coastal hazards arising from seal level rise,
coastal erosion, wave action, storm surges and tsunamis.

In Andhra Pradesh the highly vulnerable areas are the Krishna and the
Godavari delta. Coastline between Machilipatnam and Nellore is mostly
low-lying and  is vulnerable to oceanogenic hazards. In case of
Machilipatnam town there's no elevated areas. "The exact area and the
population to be affected on the coastline will be known once the maps
are ready. For instance, in case of Nellore district 1708.36 sq km
area fall under multi-hazard zone," he said.

The Incois team used parameters like historical storm surge heights,
future sea level, future shoreline and high resolution coastal
topography to identify vulnerable areas. The coastal population is
under threat due to future storms, erosion and accelerated sea level
rise. "The Incois maps will become vital tools for coastal disaster
management during an event and to take suitable decision on the future
developments," Dr Mahendra added.

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