The Economic Cost Of Bengaluru Floods — How Much Did Mobility Drop?
Visits to places of retail and recreation and transit stations fell, while visits to grocery and pharmacy remained stable.
Mobility in Bengaluru was impaired as excessive rains flooded parts of the city in the last couple of weeks.
Bengaluru received the maximum rainfall between Aug. 25 and Sept. 7, 2022. Rainfall each day was 32.8 mm on an average during the two weeks and 460.2 mm in total, according to Skymet. Sept. 5 saw the highest rainfall in the year so far at 131.6 mm.
In comparison, rainfall each day was 1.9 mm in the preceding two weeks between Aug. 11 and 24, and 26.8 mm in sum total.
Google Mobility changes, that show the visits to places such as corner shops and work, saw a decline amid the water logging.
Visits to places of retail and recreation came at 12.2% below the baseline between Aug. 25 and Sept. 7, 2022, compared to 7.6% below the baseline in the preceding two weeks.
Visits to transit stations were 7.2% above the baseline between Aug. 25 and Sept. 7, 2022, compared to 12.4% above the baseline the preceding two weeks.
Visits to grocery and pharmacy stores did not see much change, at 24.1% above the baseline between Aug. 25 and Sept. 7, 2022, compared to 25.3% above the baseline in the preceding two weeks.
Visits to places of work were 13.6% below the baseline between Aug. 25 and Sept. 7, 2022, compared to 12.5% below the baseline the preceding two weeks.
A seven-day moving average also showed some easing across visits to places amid the heavy rainfall.
To be sure, as the pandemic struck, the correlation between mobility and economic output has weakened as more and more people, especially in services, have adapted to work-from-home.
Disaster losses can’t be estimated with certainty.
The Outer Ring Road Companies Associations submitted a letter to the Karnataka Chief Minister estimating a collective loss of Rs 225 crore of all the firms it represents due to the flooding of the Outer Ring Road in the city, after heavy rains on Aug. 30.
The Mumbai floods of 2005 had caused Rs 20,000 crore in losses according to some estimates, said Jaya Dhindaw, program director-integrated urban development, planning and resilience at WRI India. Average annual loss from climate related hazards was pegged at $87 billion in India, according to the State of Climate in Asia 2020 report by the World Meteorological Organisation.
Disasters like these have a disproportionate impact on informal workforce such vendors, house help, and other vulnerable communities, with more people slipping into poverty because of such events, she said. In May, Cyclone Amphan that hit the Sundarbans region between India and Bangladesh, displaced 2.4 million people in India, mostly in West Bengal and Odisha, the WMO report said.
On the other hand, people such as those working in high levels in startups or IT companies in the city can consider relocating, causing a brain drain. What’s critical is not what happens during the event, but before and after it, Dhindaw said. Whether there is a major government shift or bandage solutions, she said.
Ahmedabad has developed a heat action plan that’s highly community driven, while the Mumbai Action Plan envisions a climate resilient city with a focus on mitigation and adaptation strategies.
Bengaluru's local administrative body has so far began an anti encroachment drive removing illegal structures on storm water drains in the city.