Indian Express Editorial Summary

Editorial Topic : Disasters and Human Responses

GS-3 Mains Exam : Disasters Management 

Revision Notes

Question:  Examine the impact of modern lifestyles on global warming and climate change. How do rising sea levels threaten major coastal cities worldwide? Illustrate with examples.

Climate Change and Rising Sea Levels

  • Modern lifestyles contribute to global warming, impacting climate.
  • Rising sea levels threaten coastal cities like London, New York, Chennai, and Bangkok.

Case Studies: Floods and Hurricanes

  • Mississippi River Floods and Hurricane Katrina (2005):
    • Frequent floods devastate the region.
    • Hurricane Katrina submerged 85% of New Orleans.
  • 1927 Mississippi Flood Management: Dynamite used to create a new drainage path, saving New Orleans despite property concerns.

The US and Flood Management

  • Despite resources and technology, the US struggles with flood management.
  • Repeated flood damage persists.

Japan and Earthquakes

  • Japan experiences 20% of global earthquakes above magnitude 6.
  • 1923 Earthquake: Devastated Tokyo and Yokohama (300,000+ houses destroyed, 140,000+ deaths).
  • Post-1923 Technological Advancements:
    • Earthquake-resistant structures (e.g., Imperial Hotel)
    • Modern quake-resistant reservoirs and food storehouses (10 days supply)

Global Examples

  • 1985 Mexico Earthquake: Impacted areas as far as 1200 km away (Houston, USA).
    • Rescue efforts highlighted the effectiveness of trained dogs in finding survivors.

Limitations of Disaster Prediction

  • Predicting natural disasters remains challenging.
  • The US Parkfield Prediction Experiment exemplifies limitations in earthquake forecasting.

Learning for India

  • Earthquake-resistant construction (Earthquake-resistant construction): Promote earthquake-resistant building codes in earthquake-prone areas, similar to Japan (Promote earthquake-resistant building codes in earthquake-prone areas, similar to Japan).
  • Flood management (Flood management): Strengthen river maintenance and drainage systems.
  • Disaster preparedness (Disaster preparedness): Strengthen disaster relief teams and train citizens in disaster mitigation.

Government actions:

  • Strictly enforce earthquake-resistant building codes.
  • Take steps to mitigate climate change.
  • Prioritize disaster management in the budget.


  • Earthquakes and other disasters have caused widespread devastation globally.
  • We must prepare for more severe events as climate change intensifies.




Indian Express Editorial Summary

Editorial Topic : Letting in Light & Air

GS-3 Mains Exam : Disasters Management 

Revision Notes

Letting in Light & Air

Question:  Analyze the recent man-made disasters in India and their implications on urban infrastructure and administration. How do these incidents highlight the challenges in urban planning and development?

  • Recent man-made disasters in India highlight poor urban infrastructure and administration.

Examples include:

    • Hoarding collapse in Ghatkopar (dust storm)
    • Billboard collapse in Pune (3 days after Mumbai)
    • Boiler blast at chemical factory in Dombivli
    • Fire outbreak in Rajkot’s Game Zone
    • Short-circuit blast in Delhi hospital
  • Urban development is controlled by National Building Code and city by-laws, which aim for safety, livability, and sustainability.

Challenges in Urban Planning:

    • Planning imposed on developing areas: Balancing business needs and safety in growing cities.
    • Interpretation of Laws: Laws may not consider spatial aspects (e.g., window placement for proper ventilation).
    • Economic Constraints: Essential safety features may be sacrificed for cost-effectiveness (e.g., balconies omitted).
    • Resident Demands: Focus on maximizing living space can compromise light and air.

Privatization of Public Spaces:

    • Public areas are shrinking and becoming more controlled, discouraging public use.
    • Open spaces are sacrificed for development, leading to “hyper-interiorized” environments (reliance on mechanical ventilation and lighting).
    • Large hoardings continue to be a safety hazard and block natural light/ventilation.

Urban Distress and Reckless Urbanization


  • India’s rapid urbanization prioritizes consumption over sustainability.
  • Recent incidents expose poor urban environments needing improvement.


  • Stakeholder Involvement: Everyone (citizens, policymakers) should demand a healthy urban environment, beyond just following regulations.
  • Resident Awareness:
    • Understand drawbacks of focusing solely on short-term gains (extra floorspace).
    • Prioritize long-term benefits like well-ventilated, naturally lit homes.
    • Emphasize social and ecological sustainability.
  • Planning Institutions:
    • Regularly assess the quality of built spaces and urban infrastructure.
    • Ensure access to public spaces and overall quality of urban living areas.


Creating safe, sustainable cities requires a collective effort. Legislators must enforce proper building codes, while citizens participate in urban development to achieve a healthy environment.


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